Friday, April 28, 2006

Another Champion of the Bored Gods

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Anne has been called away on a goat emergency. Here's a substitute orator:

"I know there are millions of people in the world who derive consolation in their times of trouble and solace in times of distress from the Bible. I would be pretty near the last man in the world to do anything or take any action to take it away. I feel just exactly the same toward the religious creed of every human being who lives. If anybody finds anything in this life that brings them consolation and health and happiness I think they ought to have it whatever they get. I haven't any fault to find with them at all."

Clarence Darrow, July 13, 1925 at the Scopes "Monkey Trial."


Thursday, April 27, 2006

Mr. Applegate's Hitler Update

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!"

I'm not bored, I'm swamped. Doggone assistant managers can't be trusted to do anything right. Every day I've got to review and review and review to make sure they're torturing with all due dispatch. Gets so tedious. There's nothing more unreliable than an apprentice demon.

Let's get the naming thing done with so we can proceed. You may know me as Azrael, Lucifer, Beelzebub, Satan, the Devil, Stretchtoe, and/or Mephistopheles.

That last one is a mouthful. Faust should have been more succinct.

I prefer for you to call me "Mr. Applegate." Sounds like the dear old fellow down the street who sits on the porch reading his newspaper in the evenings, surrounded by his well-tended rose garden.

For the record, roses won't grow in my satellite office. Wrong climate zone.

Awhile back, Anne said that if she could be God for a day, she wouldn't sentence Adolf Hitler to eternity in the Strand bookstore (on Broadway in Manhattan, 18 miles of used books).

I visit the Strand from time to time to get cookbooks. Anything I can find on barbecue. (Get it???)

I'm not allowed to mete out sentences in my satellite office. My customers arrive with their sentences in hand, manila folders, very efficient, all doled out by St. Peter at the Pearly Gates.

An absurdly large number of people come here with no other shortcoming than worshipping someone other than my boss. But hey. My contract expires in 3994 years, a mere blip in time, god-wise. So I'm not about to ruffle any angel feathers.

However, occasionally a true scoundrel shows up at one of my assistants' cubicles. Someone who deserves to be skewered on an eternal rotisserie. Hitler, of course, is one of those people. And that's the sentence he got: eternal rotisserie. Just like the nice Buddhist lady who threw her grandchild to safety during the tsunami.

Go figure.

The other day I devised some proper punishments for the Fuhrer, which I now list, in no particular order.

1. Oyster in the Chesapeake Bay, sentenced to filtering water laden with sewage overflows, fertilizer, heavy metals, industrial chemicals, bacterial blooms, and gasoline.

2. Glacier in the Alps, sentenced to melt quickly in the earthly hothouse. Drip, drip, drip.

3. Gay male hired as janitor at Westboro Baptist Church.

4. Muslim woman caught on the street without her burka in Iran.

5. "Green Acres" and "Petticoat Junction" re-runs, with commercials. Eternal Charlie the Tuna and Trix Are for Kids.

6. Readily recognizable Enron executive, walking naked through the square of Akron, Ohio.

7. Front row, balcony, "The Producers," original Broadway cast. Two showings only, just to make sure he gets all the jokes.

8. High school teacher stuck with "No Child Left Behind" mandate to teach "Paradise Lost" to ESL class.

9. Geezy peezy, I know its a stereotype, but you can't improve on the Lincoln Tunnel at rush hour. In a convertible, top stuck in down position.

10. This one's stale too, but I'd make him immortal, on planet earth.


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

This Just In!

Can you waste a full moon in June?

If so, get that popcorn and that tired old DVD and curl into your couch like a spud.

If not, be brave! Be bold! Be wild and free, and in communion with the fae!

Literally. Be there, or be square!

THE MERLIN OF ...........

Artwork by Seitou, original to "The Gods Are Bored," use with permission only.

Shameless Self Promotion

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" All religion has to have its day. If yours is in its prime, and you're surrounded by scores of other believers, well then. Aren't you the lucky one?

Just a little reminder to grab your copy of Faerie Magazine, spring 2006 issue. Among the highlights of this lovely publication: a study of the Green Man, a list of upcoming faerie festivals, a long story on Peter Pan (who rocks my socks off), and Anne's awesome story about Beautiful Berkeley Springs!

The Big Box bookstores (Barnes & Noble, Borders) should have Faerie Magazine in house. If not, they can order it for you. I should think that you could order it online from the link in my sidebar, but so far their web site is behind the times.

Isn't the cover precious? I think I saw this little sprite the last time I visited Terrapin Run.


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Gods Aren't Invited

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" How many centuries can you sit around playing checkers, recalling the good ol' days when Aztecs erected pyramids in your honor?

I visited a web site called Positive Atheist today to get a little essential dose of H. L. Mencken. And the good folks there pointed out something I had already noticed.

Thursday, May 4, is the "National Day of Prayer."

I happen to know this event will be celebrated here in my little suburban enclave.

Of course the atheists object strongly to a "National Day of Prayer." They are calling on all atheists to give blood that day in protest. Separation of church and state, and all that.

My 8 weeks are almost up since the last time I donated, but that's not why I would do it.

Apparently there's no room at the table for the bored gods at the "National Day of Prayer."

Of course this event will include Jews, Catholics, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Baptists, God Hates Faggers, and Holy Rollers. But with a theme that's something like "God, Work for Us" (that's not exact, but I know the name God is definitely in it), what's a poor pagan to do?

The "National Day of Prayer" is for God and God alone. If you pray to a goddess, or to a vulture, or to multiple ancient deities, stay the hell home.

Do you think that's fair? Neither does Quetzalcoatl.

Princess the faerie says: "There's no they're there.


Monday, April 24, 2006

Poetry Nite

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," your number one clearinghouse for orphaned kittens!

Three perfectly nurtured tabby kittens went off to the shelter today. They were here from age 3 weeks to age 8 weeks. Their brother is still here. Oddly enough, he got injured overnight. I hope he makes it. No visible signs of trauma except that he's clearly hurt a paw and just wants to sleep all the time.

And let's hear it for Right to Life! Goat season is just getting underway, but I couldn't turn down the Animal Control lady when she said she needed me to take 3 more babies. They are 10 DAYS old. So I have one sick 8-week-old and 3 10-day-olds, plus two resident felines.

What would you do if the Animal Control lady said, "If you don't take them, I'll have to put them down?"

"The Gods Are Bored" is now officially taking donations for doggone kitten formula at $18.00 a doggone can. Right to Life can be doggone expensive.

Tonight The Heir and I go to our town's first annual Poetry Bash. The Monkey Man and his monkey will also attend. I even wrote a poem for the occasion. (It was either that or steal one from the Wandering Hillbilly - his are terrific.)

My poem is about vultures, of course.

The only other news is that the sweet Jehovah's Witness missionary lady visited me today. It's always the same well-coiffed African American lady with a fistful of "Watchtowers." What a sweet lady! I'd never spoil her day by telling her I'm a polytheist, and that she'd better beat a hasty retreat before some bored god like Chonganda, or Mithras, or Morrigan comes to hiss in her ears. I also deem it unwise to let her into my foyer, within which stands an altar to Queen Brighid the Bright graced with my magic wand and the feathers of the Sacred Thunderbird.

Oh yeah. I've also got a wine cork with the likeness of the Green Man stained into it. How we do marvel over that!

Yours raising kittens, tending goats, writing poetry, listening to missionaries, helping with math homework, and serving the bored gods. Whew. What a game plan!


Sunday, April 23, 2006

Inherit the Heat: The Global Warming Generation

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Ask yourself this: "Is my god or goddess telling me to be in charge of the earth, or to be a part of the earth? That's a tricky question.

Like everyone else except the sitting president, I believe in global warming. The danger zone is everywhere. However, I've achieved a "certain age" (kind of like Miss Brody in her Prime), so I know I won't live to see the worst of it, even though it's right around the corner.

(Some of my readers think that I'll be a lot hotter by then than our planet. As in drowning in a big lake of fire forever.)

Here's a little story my daughter The Heir brought home from her Blue Ribbon School on Friday.

Between our house and the school, there's a three-acre puddle that I'll call Dog Poop Pond. Only one row of homes stands between us and Dog Poop Pond, so over the years the kids and I have spent a good deal of time trudging around this sorry little waterway. The Heir passes it every day walking to and from school.

An elderly neighbor, long gone now, once told me that in the summertime years ago, the singing of the peepers at Dog Poop Pond was so loud at night that no one could sleep.

There are no peepers in the pond anymore.

However, a few tenacious bullfrogs, newts, and snapping turtles still call the murky waters home. (Last summer we enjoyed the day when a nest of snappers hatched in our yard and the little darlings, about the size of an old-fashioned silver dollar, set off for the pond by instinct.)

The Heir's Blue Ribbon School celebrated Earth Day on Friday. The students went to Dog Poop Pond and scooped out some frogs and newts, brought them back to the school in an aquarium. The frightened pond creatures were subjected to hours of scrutiny by spoiled, wealthy white brats.

By the end of the day, one of the newts had died. The Heir reported that some boys put the newt carcass in a plastic soda bottle as a joke.

Then the students poured the aquarium out on the football field to create a "frog race." The stunned amphibians sat in the sun and didn't move, despite a great deal of prodding by high-end Birkenstocks.

The Heir said that the only voice of complaint about this came from a county naturalist who said, "You really shouldn't do that." The Heir helped the naturalist return the frogs to the pond.

The Heir was very upset about this when she came home. She's had a hard time dealing with the cruel behavior of teachers and students at her Blue Ribbon School. But this was something like a last straw. She's particularly maternal towards the poor, sorry creatures in Dog Poop Pond, having seen them cavorting in the muck since she was a toddler.

I look beyond her concern to a larger picture. The kids in this town have been showered with money and privilege since they drew their first breaths in state-of-the-art "maternity suites" at the nearby posh hospital. Most of these kids are offspring of the world's Uber Men, America's Master Race, and they're headed toward their adulthoods in the same social class.

And the way they observe Earth Day is to kick small bullfrogs across a football field and laugh at a dead newt in a Sprite bottle.

I'm really sorry that my daughters, The Heir and The Spare, are part of the Global Warming Generation. But this is a nation of rampant, careless consumers raising rampant, careless offspring.

My daughter said, "We're destroying the earth."

I told her that it is impossible for the human race as it is currently constituted to "destroy the earth." We could nuke it bare, and we might. We can let it heat up like a pressure cooker. And we will. But when all life as we know it disappears, some little creatures now living in sulfur vents in the deepest ocean trenches will begin evolving new forms all over again.

And that's the power of Mother Earth. Long may She reign.

In the meantime, let the frog-kickers inherit the heat. Anyone who could behave with such wanton cruelty on Earth Day richly deserves to watch their $1.5 million shore home disappear into the waves.


Friday, April 21, 2006

One Odd God

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Mything in Action!

You won't like it much when some archeologist of the future points to your mega-church and calls it an "ancient temple for worship of mythical deities." Am I right?

So where does that put Stonehenge? Back on the active roster, if you ask me.

We have a visiting god today, and he's been waiting in the wings for awhile. So with no further ado, please give a great, big "Gods Are Bored" welcome to Great God Almighty John Frum!

Anne: Welcome to "TGAB!" Shall we call you God, God Almighty John Frum, or what?

Frum: Plain old John will be a-okay. Wanna Lucky Strike?

Anne: No thanks, I never gamble ... emmm ... you mean a cigarette?

Frum: Yeah. A smoke.

Anne: Never seen an active god who smokes.

Frum: It's part of what my praise and worship team likes about me.

Anne: So you're not a bored god. You're on active duty, with a praise and worship team! Congratulations!

Frum: It's not a big team. But then, I'm a pretty young god.

Anne: John, I think our patrons here would be very interested to know how you got your start, where you work, and how you came to be a deity.

Frum: Well, my praise and worship team is located on Vanuatu in the Melanesian Islands. It's a pretty isolated place. In fact, it's so much like one of those uncharted islands on "Survivor" that they used it. On "Survivor." Really. But don't let the beaches fool you. The island is 20 miles long by 6 miles wide, and about 28,000 people live there.

Anne: And they all worship you.

Frum: Give or take a few minor denominational schisms, yes.

Anne: Awesome. I'm sure many bored gods are going to be wondering how you landed this post.

Frum: Some Presbyterian missionaries cleared the way for me. And after WWII, it was smooth sailing.

Anne: Explain, please!

Frum: Well, about 1900, a group of Presbyterian missionaries arrived on Vanuatu Island. They told the people there to give up all their religious ceremonies and go to church instead. Except that the religious ceremonies on Vanuatu Island include the use of Kava ...

Anne: Let me guess. A plant with hallucinogenic properties, used in religious rituals to connect with the divine.

Frum: Bingo! And the Presbyterian missionaries said, "NO MORE KAVA." They put an end to everything the islanders called "kastom," everything that had worked for these people for millennia. When the islanders tried to rebel against this authority, the missionaries called in the colonial officials from the larger islands, and they established "peace."

Anne: One can imagine the ways in which colonial authorities established "peace."

Frum: In secret, at great peril to their lives, the village elders continued to use Kava. And one night I came to their chief in a vision. I said I would help the islanders to restore "kastom," that it was their right to worship in the ways of their ancient old gods.

Anne: I'll bet those gods just love you.

Frum: Too much. They let me win at poker.

Anne: Okay, continue your story.

Frum: The elder's vision occurred around 1930, and for some time after that not all the islanders bought it. But then came World War II, and Vanuatu Island became yet another Allied beachhead. All of a sudden, here come all these nice Navy guys with cigarettes, and chocolate, and outboard motorboats, and Spam. The islanders never had any of that stuff before. They figured it was a gift from me, John Frum.

Anne: Makes sense.

Frum: And it strengthened my position with the islanders so much that they've been praying for my return ever since. And they can use all the Kava they want. I even have a "John Frum Day," February 15, when they all dress in their best clothes, hoist a sacred American Flag, and march like drilling soldiers, all in my honor.

Anne: They think you're going to return and bring them cigarettes and chocolate? And motorboats? Suppose they don't get any of that stuff in, say, another 100 years?

Frum: Is there any part of the world where you can't get a Hershey bar if you want one? Or a Billy Joel CD? You miss the point. The Vanuatu Islanders didn't just want chocolate. They wanted the right to practice their "kastom." Remember, I came to see them before WWII, and I didn't bring any smokes with me. Just the reminder that all cultures have a right to exercise their ancient and accepted religious rites.

Anne: That's what we're all about here at "The Gods Are Bored." We write about the right to rites!

Puck and Princess: BRAVO!!!!!

Anne: One last question, John. Where'd you get that weird last name, "Frum?"

Frum: It's the Vanuatu Islanders' way of saying "broom." See, I came to sweep out all that foreign Presbyterianism and restore the old ways. I'm just doing my job.

Anne: And doing it doggone well. We at "The Gods Are Bored" salute the Great God John Frum, and long may He reign!

Source: Smithsonian Magazine, February, 2006, "In John They Trust," pp. 71-77.


Thursday, April 20, 2006

Our New Artist Rocks!

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," dedicated to the proposition that a universe as big as ours can support more than one deity! Erect your personal shrine today!

What do you think of this magnificent faerie? She is a "Gods Are Bored" exclusive! So before you put that little mouse on her to move her to your site, please take a moment and consider the plight of the young, vibrant, college-aged artist just beginning a wonderful career (clearly) and in need of your financial support!

Seriously, we at "The Gods Are Bored" commissioned this faerie from a very talented and fascinating young woman named Seitou. She will soon have her own web site, in tandem with our other "Gods Are Bored" exclusive artist, Cy. So if you fall in love with this faerie (easily done), please contact us and arrange to compensate Seitou for her hard work.

It's high time to mention two very important dates for your calendar. They are:

The Fairie Festival at Spoutwood Farm, May 5 - 7, 2006. Referenced in my sidebar, this is a fantastic event centered on the essential May Day (Beltane) Celebration. Growing by leaps and bounds every year, this festival is within driving distance of all cities in the Mid-Atlantic.

The Faerie Festival at Berkeley Springs, June 9 - 10, 2006. This first-ever event couldn't be set in a more perfect venue! Visit the Sacred Springs, commune with faeries and Thunderbirds and people who love both! The festivities culminate in a Faerie Ball at a real castle, YES A REAL CASTLE. Referenced in my sidebar under "Beautiful Berkeley Springs." Berkeley Springs is so close to Washington and Baltimore that you can whip up there on the back of a dragonfly while painting your toenails.

I'll be your reporter on the scene at both events. If you plan to attend either, let me know and we'll summon the fae together!

Now I bet Tennessee Jed is wondering if I'll ever learn how to spell "fairy."

Hey, I'm not dumb. It's f-e-r-r-y.

Artwork by Seitou exclusive to "The Gods Are Bored."

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Pagan Tent Revival!

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" I'm Pastor Annie, and tonight we're havin' a good old-fashioned Tent Revival Meeting! Spread out your blanket, or pull up one of those nice folding chairs! We greet you in the name of the Goddess!

And I'm so very glad to see so many young people out there in the crowd! We learn from the world around us, don't we kids? And what you're learning is that the One God Model is melting down! Can I get a "So Might It Be?"


Pastor Annie: We'd like to open tonight's Very Special Service with a prayer by Scott, from Citizens of Planet Earth Academy. Give a warm, nurturing welcome to Scott!

Crowd: You go, Scott!

"Lying on my bed of hay
I listen to the peepers.
They sing so sweetly, they seem to say
Awake, ye drowsy sleepers!
Come with us, fill the air,
The singing is everywhere,
There's nobody listening!
Come with us, fill the air,
We'll alter the thoughts you wear
And set the night glistening!

"Wake up while the night is sweet
And warm as Christmas candy!
We'll sing our song, and have no fear,
The tune is very handy!
It comes from the edge, you see
We know all the harmony
We sing it quite nightly!
We sing in the nursery
Our children grow up to be
Singers, quite rightly!


Pastor Annie: What beautiful sentiments! Thanks so much, Scott. And since that prayer was clearly inspired by the fae, let me take this opportunity to welcome all the faeries!


Pastor Annie: And to warn you worshippers that, if you come here with preconceived notions, a sense of religious superiority, or just because you think we slaughter kittens in pentagrams, watch your step! You can't fool faeries. They'll take your bad intentions or your snide remarks and turn them into flat tires!


Pastor Annie: Okay, all you pagans out there! What's the cornerstone of tent revivals?


Pastor Annie: And we have some awesome, awesome testimonials to hear tonight, my friends! I know you'll appreciate hearing our speakers tell you how they came to the Goddess! So, with no further ado, let's give a warm pagan welcome to Zoryaneli Garcia-Lopez!


Zory: I have a new name now. It's OneEarth.

Crowd: YOU GO!

Pastor Annie: Tell us your story, OneEarth!

Zory: Well, it's like this. I've been a good Catholic all my life until now. And I've raised six children and taught them right from wrong. My oldest son, Carlos, enlisted in the Marines because he couldn't find a job where we live. He got sent to Iraq and was killed in a roadside bombing attack.

You know how it is with your oldest child. Not that I don't love all my kids, but Carlos was special in so many ways. He helped me so much! He was a good kid. And I supported the war because he did. I bought a frame for the letter President Bush sent me and everything.

On the day of Carlos's funeral, two things happened. The parish priest was arrested on child abuse charges and hauled away in handcuffs. Then, just as a deacon was stepping in to perform the service, these people came out of nowhere and cheered because my Carlos was dead!


Zory: These cheering people, they call themselves the Westboro Baptist Church. They said Carlos died because God Hates Fags. And they called St. Bridget's Roman Catholic Church a whorehouse! And they said that all of America was going to burn in hell because the government isn't killing all the fags! They yelled out how happy they were that my son got blown up by a bomb!


Zory: Not that it matters, but Carlos was straight. He was engaged to a nice girl. And it was her idea for us to turn our backs on such a hateful religion as the Westboro Baptist Church and such an untrustworthy institution as the Roman Catholic Church. And so, here we are! I never thought I would be a pagan, but you know, a grieving mother can only take so much before she flips.

Pastor Annie: And the Goddess loves you, OneEarth. You'll never find it written in a book that the Goddess hates fags. Or Catholic priests, for that matter, even though they can be mighty mean sometimes.


Pastor Annie: Now give a warm and nurturing pagan welcome to Ben and Jerry! No, faeries, sorry. They aren't the ice cream guys. But don't steal their car keys, okay?

Faeries: Phooey!

Pastor Annie: Ben? Jerry? What would you like to say?

Ben: Well, Annie, it's like this. Jerry and I have been partners for 18 years. We were both good tithing members of the Unitarian Universal Church in our community. One day we decided to participate in a Gay Pride Parade. Not on some outrageous float or anything ...

Faerie: I could go for a root beer float this very instant.

Pastor Annie: Quiet, Puck! I told you these aren't the Ben and Jerry.

Ben: We were just walking with a group from our church. And up come these God Hates Fags people with bullhorns and placards, telling us how we were going to burn in hell and take all of America with us. You know what? The Unitarian Universal Church is probably the most liberal Christian denomination out there, and it lost a dozen gay members in ten minutes, just from that one incident! Jerry and I feel much more welcome in the pagan community. Don't we, Jerry?

Jerry: We sure do.

Pastor Annie: Can I get a So Might It Be?


Jerry: Can I add something?

Pastor Annie: By all means.

Jerry: Ben and I were kind of waiting for some Christian denomination, particularly the Baptists, to issue an official statement against the God Hates Fags demonstrators. Not one denomination has stepped up to counter-protest that message. You want to know what I think?

Pastor Annie: By all means.

Jerry: I think it's because all of these denominations, even the Unitarian Universalists, are afraid of losing tithe-paying members if they speak out against the Westboro crowd.


Ben: Jerry and I gave much prayerful thought to changing religions. We decided that Goddess-based faiths are more friendly to the earth, less burdened with dogma, and more open to humor and individuality!


Pastor Annie: Yeah, that slogan didn't last long with the United Methodists. It works better here. Now please welcome our final testimonial. Please be patient while he makes his way to the front. It will take him some time.

Crowd waits while a wounded Iraq veteran is slowly wheeled to the front of the tent. He's missing two limbs, and his head is swathed in bandages.

Pastor Annie: Are you game for this, Clyde Ray?

Clyde Ray: Absolutely.

Pastor Annie: Citizens of Planet Earth, please welcome PFC Clyde Ray Huckin, of Charles Town, West (By Gawdess) Virginia. Company F, 93rd Regiment, Enlisted. Be patient with Clyde Ray. He's in a lot of pain.

Clyde Ray: I have some good days and some bad days. The people at the National Naval Hospital are very helpful. I'm lucky to have their support.
Pastor Annie: Tell us why you're here, Clyde Ray. And be sure all those teenagers hear you. They're still forming opinions about praise and worship teams.

Clyde Ray: I was the chief of a bomb squad in Sadr City. About the best I can say about what happened to me was that none of my buds got hurt when the unit exploded in my face. But I'm pretty F****ed up. Oh. Sorry about the language.

Pastor Annie: No problem, pilgrim.

Clyde Ray: Sitting around like I do all day gives you time to think. And I'm wondering why we have to fight for oil when it's going to run out anyway? In West Virginia, when crops start running out, we plant them over. Can't do that with oil. But anyway. That's not why I'm here. I'm here because I just converted to paganism!



Clyde Ray: I'll tell you why I've changed my heart. It's because I look around me in that hospital, and I see people suffering, dying, brain damage, maimed forever, the worst kinds of agony you can imagine. People with families. With children to raise and bills to pay. With wives that will never be intimate with them again. With grieving parents. Wishing they had been killed so they wouldn't have to go through rehab. Wondering how they're gonna get through life. Can't even look in a mirror and see themselves so busted to pieces.

And you know what I found out yesterday? I found out that the God Hates Fags Westboro Church is going to demonstrate outside the National Naval Hospital because they say we got what we deserve for not killing every fag in America!

Pastor Annie: Are all you teenagers getting this? Here's a religion practiced by 99 percent of Americans, allowing its ugliest fringe contributors to behave like demented Ku Kluxers. And not one itty bitty bleat of protest from the Jesus crowd. Sorry, but in my orally-transmitted iconography, that gives the One True God a big fat black eye.

Faeries: BLACK EYE, BLACK HEART, BLACK MIND. And we're not proposing titles for a new James Baldwin novel here!

Pastor Annie: It's really, really hard for me to criticize any god, bored or otherwise. But if a certain Judeo-Christian deity gets misquoted, or rightly quoted, by hate-spewing psychopath dimwits, it just proves to be a magnificent teaching tool for praise and worship teams with more of a big, broad, flexible outlook.

Say what you will, but the Westboro Baptist Church (a.k.a. God Hates Fags) brings out the H. L. Mencken in me.

H.L. Mencken: It's about time you mentioned my name in this column, you ungrateful channeler, you!

Pastor Annie: Seriously, folks and faeries, you don't want to judge a whole wedding cake by the fly stuck in the icing. But when the bride and groom cut the thing up and serve it, fly and all, you've just gotta wonder.


Tonight's offering will pay for Zory's health deductible ($1000 per person, she has five kids and herself) plus the $98 per month she has to pay every month for her Wal-Mart health insurance (herself and five kids). Give till it hurts: This woman earning poverty wages could conceivably be stuck with $7200 a year in health costs!

As long as the brimstones are falling tonight, might as well lob one at a deserving target like Wal-Mart.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Reality Intrudes

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Today we have a special on Mithras, over in Aisle 7. Buy one round underground temple, get the second one at half price. Hurry up, because tomorrow you may be too late!

We have so many great ideas for entries this week. Last week we met a Very Odd God, and we want to invite him for an interview. And that's just for starters.

However, today reality intruded big time.

I have two daughters, The Heir and The Spare. The Heir is in high school. The Spare just started Middle School.

The Heir got braces when she was in Middle School. She wasn't happy about it, of course, but she bucked up and dealt with it, including wearing the butt-ugliest head gear I'd ever seen in my life. If memory serves me right, I believe she took two Tylenols the day she got her braces put on.

Today The Spare got her braces. And she erupted like a volcano. Not at the orthodontist, of course, but here at home, where she could scream like I was a Grand Inquisitor and she was some poor farm girl caught holding a kitten. She ranted. She fell on the floor and convulsed. She put on her shoes and announced that she was headed back to the orthodontist to insist the things be taken off. She begged me to stab her, to punch her in the face, to murder her with dispatch.

When I refused to end her life, she threw her new braces kit across the room, losing half the contents to the ever-vigilant faeries. They live for moments like this, when they can sneak off with dental floss and that teeny tiny brush that gets into the crevices.

At her insistance I called the orthodontist (half hoping that said doc would show pity and release a little dose of something stronger). Ortho doctor only pointed out that I have given birth to a first-class drama queen. I knew that already.

On the other hand, she could really be in screaming pain. How would I know? I never had braces. I grew up in Appalachia, and the only people with braces there were the few rich kids.

My teeth are crooked. And when I get sick of hearing how awful braces are, all I have to do is open my mouth and show The Heir and The Spare what they'll be missing by getting a little metal in their mouths while they're young.

Better go. The Spare is doped up on Tylenol and Advil, but they'll be wearing off soon and the neighbors are coming home from work. I really don't feel like having the cops at my door tonight because someone thinks I'm torturing my child.


Monday, April 17, 2006

A Chance to Witness to the Faith

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" We're back and we're looking alive! Come and war ship with us!

(Oh, those faeries. They do love their puns.)

Today's topic: Respecting the religion of others.

I've been so busy that I've neglected telling you about an important development in my life.

After having had such a bang-up experience at the First Annual Gloucester County Vulture Festival, I was immensely honored to be asked to join the steering committee for next year's festival!

Oh, I am not worthy!

Anyway, the steering committee had its first meeting at a swell Italian restaurant near Pomona about two weeks ago. Eight people attended. And you never met a nicer group of tree-huggers in your life. I didn't know one of them, and by the end of the evening they were like family. And honestly, I didn't drink. It would have been insulting to the Sacred Thunderbirds.

The first Vulture Festival earned a whopping $2000 profit with maximum attendance, and we anticipate holding it in a larger venue next year and charging more for admission. We'll need bouncers to turn away the non-ticketed crowds. Trust me.

Although it's slightly less than 11 months until the next buzzard bash, some preliminary plans were discussed. Like choreographing a buzzard dance to that old disco tune, "Stayin' Alive."

Not my idea, folks. But I'm game. Bring on the mirrored ball!

Since the rest of the steering committee is from Pomona and its environs, they wanted to know more about me. Every eye in the table turned to Anne as the inevitable question was posed:

"Why are you so interested in vultures?"

Ahhhh. A golden opportunity to witness to my faith, and to a supremely receptive audience at that! Time to trot out all the doctrine about Sacred Thunderbirds And What They Can Mean to Your Troubled Life.

But that's not how we here at "The Gods Are Bored" operate.

We aren't missionaries for some particular religion. We're a clearinghouse for multiple religions. A veritable Discount Harry's Wholesale Surplus for the poor gods and goddesses just sitting around crocheting tablecloths the size of Texas because they don't have praise and worship teams.

Thunderbirds work for me, but would they be the answer for the nice lady who sent out the tickets for the 2006 Vulture Festival? What if she's a Christian? She might not like having her beliefs challenged.

Suffice it to say I mumbled some platitudes about enjoying vulture thermodynamics. This would have been proven a tepid lie if these people had seen me gyrating over the 120 buzzards in their sleepy borough.

But that's my business. I don't even encourage my daughters, The Heir and The Spare to worship buzzards. They'll find their way to the Religious Roost some day.

As for you, if you want Sacred Thunderbirds as your personal bored gods, our operators are standing by to take your call.

And remember, look alive!


Sunday, April 16, 2006

Season's Greetings from the Bored Gods

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven:
Light of sun,
Radiance of moon,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock.
I arise today
Through the strength of heaven.

Celtic Prayer

From Anne

The Merlin of Berkeley Springs

Friday, April 14, 2006

Good Friday

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Picking out that stunning Easter outfit with matching bonnet and shoes? You go. We're not going to tell you how to run your life.

On the other hand, if you feel slightly queasy at the thought of all that pageantry at the mega-church, please be aware that there are bored gods and goddesses just standing by to take your call. You can just go sit in a field and talk to them.

Every year on this day I'm reminded of a Sunday years ago when my daughter The Heir was about 7 years old. The Heir is a deep thinker and always has been.

We were at this posh Easter Sunday service in a Methodist cathedral. The pastor called all the children to come to the front for a "children's message." It was the usual canned stuff about the holiday not only being about colored eggs. (Yeah, that's pagan anyway.)

After the little session expired, my daughter The Heir tugged at the pastor's gown. He was in a hurry to continue with the fancy service, so he looked down at her with a slight frisson of impatience.

The Heir said: "Why do they call it Good Friday if Jesus suffered on that day?"

Well, tee heee heeee. This pastor, a Man of God, snickered at my daughter with a condescending sneer and said, "Go ask your Sunday School teacher." He said it into the microphone so that all 700 people in the congregation could hear him and laugh at The Heir's expense.

The Heir came to me all confused and said, "Mom, why did they laugh at me? It was a serious question."

So, to make a long story short, we quit the church and decided that from now on if we need to ask Jesus a question we'll do it ourselves.


"Eyeball Vulture" copyright of Cy. Use with permission of this site only.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

It's Our Anniversary!

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" This week we will celebrate the anniversary of the beginning of this web log. How time flies when you're having fun!

I want to thank all of you who stop by to read about the bored gods. Thanks to all who have left comments. Thanks to all who just read and scoot. Thanks to you who have linked me to your own work. That's a real honor, and I don't take it lightly.

Through this humble space on the World Wide Web, I have made friends on two continents. I've been included in an awesome team of righteous hillbilles called the Appalachian Greens. I've been able to publicize my favorite causes: Saving Terrapin Run, visiting Beautiful Berkeley Springs, and of course giving time and support to all the bored gods!

Sadly, I will be away next week paying respects to my departed Aunt Gloria, a fine lady who never let a giggle die in her throat.

So I've compiled a list of "The Gods Are Bored" Top Ten for you to look at while I'm gone, if you so choose. These are posts I liked a lot, ranked from least favorite to most favorite.

10. "Oh, Poor Dolly!" In which Felicity pays the price for political correctness. (October 18, 2005)

9. "Family Reunion." What if this stadium was filled with your ancestors? (November 8, 2005)

8. "Turtle Dove Love," a touchy topic from my church lady days. (May 4, 2005)

7. "Pickett's Slots," on the bright idea of building a casino at Gettysburg Battlefield. (January 12, 2006)

6. "Teenage Rebel Run Amok," poor parenting at its worst! (February 28, 2006)

5. "I Know It's Only Rock n Roll." Personal opinion of a certain famous rock group. (February 5, 2006)


4. "Asherah Wednesday," a visit with God's ex-wife. (November 8, 2005)

3. "Intelligent Design." What this blog's all about! (May 6, 2005)

2. "Rednecks, White and Blue." Anne at her colorful best! (June 27, 2005)


1. "The Collected Works of Mr. Applegate." What a devil this guy is! Comes sneaking around my blog when I'm not home, whining about how awful his boss is and how he's been given a raw deal. Don't tell me your problems, Satan. Read the fine print next time you sign a contract!
("Evidence for the Defense," 5/05; July 18 and 21, 2005, August 3 and 12, 2005; September 13, 2005; October 5, 2005; December 17, 2005)

I told you he looks like a bunny.

We at "The Gods Are Bored" end this post with a shameless plea for you to buy the spring, 2006 issue of Faerie Magazine, in which you'll find Anne's awesome piece on Berkeley Springs! Ask for it at your local Big Box Bookstore. Chances are they've shelved it behind the Dr. Laura Digest.

I just love writing this drivel! Please re-join me on April 18, 2006. We need to make plans for the upcoming faerie festivals!


Friday, April 07, 2006

Asleep with the Confederate Dead

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" If you're just joining us, today's post is not typical.

This is a photograph of the monument to the Confederate Dead at Rose Hill Cemetery in Hagerstown, Maryland.

My aunt Gloria passed over yesterday afternoon. She was a wild woman who laughed about everything. That's why she lived to be 92 years old. She practically raised my sister and me, because my mom was sick all the time. Aunt Gloria was the kind of person who would climb under the bed with you and make fart noises and laugh about it. So now you know why I am the way I am.

Aunt Gloria, my mom's older sister, will join the other four generations of her family who are sleeping with the Confederate Dead.

And since I mention this Confederate Dead business from time to time, I thought I'd better explain.

The Battle of Antietam was the bloodiest single day of warfare in American history. I think there were more than 19,000 casualties in 24 hours (dead and wounded).

When the battle was over, the work crews buried the Union soldiers in a federal cemetery with crosses all laid out like Arlington. Occasionally a local soldier will still be buried in this federal graveyard. It's in Sharpsburg.

The work crews just dumped the Confederate soldiers in a big ditch and covered them with dirt.

After the Civil War ended, a prominent Confederate officer retired to Hagerstown with those Rebel dead of Antietam weighing heavily on his mind. He raised funds to dig them up and re-bury them in Rose Hill Cemetery in Hagerstown.

My mother's ancestors deeply sympathized with the Rebel cause. They were slave-holders and otherwise a bunch of racist nut case slime. So they bought plots in Rose Hill Cemetery to show their solidarity with the Rebels.

So that's what I mean when I say my family is sleeping with the Confederate Dead.

There's just one problem, and it doesn't apply to Aunt Gloria. She was my mom's sister.

The problem is my dad.

Dad's ancestors lived north of the Mason-Dixon in the Allegheny Mountains near Cumberland, Maryland. There's a stream called Town Creek that flows from these mountains into the Potomac. If you follow the stream from where it empties in the Potomac to its source, you've gone due north into the wilds of Mountain Pennsylvania.

Town Creek was a veritable Underground Railroad highway, and my dad's ancestors lived along it and did what they could to help escaping slaves. As soon as the Civil War started, they enlisted. Two of them ended up dead at Andersonville.

At my mom's insistence, she and Dad are buried in Rose Hill with the Confederate Dead. I vehemently opposed Dad's burial in that Rebel cemetery, but my mega-church sister insisted. So I did not attend the graveside service, and I took some of his ashes and buried them with his parents in the shale soil of the Alleghenies. Far as I'm concerned that's where he will be remembered. I steadfastly refuse to put flowers on my parents' grave in his honor.

So off I go to another burial among the Confederate Dead. This one will be my last, because my mother's siblings are all gone now, and you can bet your last buck that I'm not headed for that Rebel graveyard. I'd rather go straight to the landfill than to that place.

We at "The Gods Are Bored" abhor slavery. But if you want to wave a Rebel flag, that's fine with us. We don't tell other people how to live their lives. But personally it's hard for me to go to that cemetery and see all those Rebel flags and know most of my dad's ashes are there despite the contributions his family made to the Grand Army of the Republic.

But Aunt Gloria wouldn't want me to dwell on this, or how much I'll miss her either. She would want me to go play Bingo, make fart noises, and laugh my head off. Tears and navel-gazing were not that lady's style.

So off goes the last of the Bonnie Blue Flaggers, and tomorrow "The Gods Are Bored" returns to its general run of madcap mayhem. Come see us! We value your patronage.


Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Gods Love Monkeys

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," your premiere distraction from meaningful productivity! I'm your host, Anne, the Really Really Really Bad Mom.

Some of you will remember my frequent posts about the Monkey Man. If so, please skip the introductory material and scroll to the new stuff!

1. Three years ago, my daughter The Heir was walking home from school. A weird guy on a bike passed her. He was wearing clown pants and a jester hat. He had a monkey puppet. The puppet greeted The Heir by saying, "Hi, there. ooo ooo ooo AAAH AAH AAH!

Thus began our family's association with The Monkey Man. From such modest and anonymous origins an adventure has spun in which me and my daughters:
* compiled urban legends about The Monkey Man
* excitedly reported sightings of The Monkey Man
* speculated on this singular being
* helped The Monkey Man find his lost monkey
* began sharing emails with the Monkey Man
* discovered that he grew up in the house behind ours
* got on his mailing list for the poetry group he runs (monthly get-togethers in the Murder Capital of America).

Please stop at this point and speculate on what this information would do to Dr. Laura's blood pressure.

Better have your nitroglycerine tablets handy, Dr. Laura.

Last night The Heir and I sallied forth in my beat-up Ford and drove the six miles to the Murder Capital. We didn't have any trouble finding the little pizza parlor where The Monkey Man holds his poetry group.

The pizza parlor was absolutely packed with poets! Big poets, little poets, black poets, white poets, and Very Colorful Poets (that would be The Monkey Man. He wore a rainbow striped dashiki and his jester hat). Of course The monkey puppet was there. He sat at the table with The Heir and me.

It was haiku night. The Monkey Man began by reading haiku from Basho (not sure of the spelling on that one). Then no less than 20 other people stood up and read, some of it famous haiku, some of it poems they'd done themselves. The Heir stood up and read her poems. All present (save Heir) shared Saki, plum wine, pizza, and Easter candy.

What a lively evening! The Heir and I had a great time!

The Monkey Man signs his poems as he says them. (Sign language)

The method of paying for the pizza is so casual that if you were hungry you could eat for free.

Now this last part is true too. When the Heir and I left the gathering, there was a drug bust going down across the street. Six police cars. A teenager being led away in cuffs.

(Would someone please give Dr. Laura smelling salts?)

On the way home The Heir and I were commenting on what a wonderful experience the poetry get-together had been, and also on what else we saw. And being an adult, I understood that we hadn't been in the safest neighborhood in the county. But hey. The Heir saw a drug bust right in her school classroom, so there you are.

We here at "The Gods Are Bored" don't spout much pithy philosophy. But here's the aphorism I coined to cover last night's event:

It's better to take some risks and live
Than to take no risks and live longer.


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Intelligent Design by the PTA

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Please! Make yourself comfortable. Would you like a cup of hot tea?

On our agenda today is a quick item of old business. In yesterday's post I suggested that an eternity in a certain bookstore would be more punishment than even Adolf Hitler deserved. We at "The Gods Are Bored" go on record as feeling that Hitler deserves punishment, maggot that he was. At a later date we'll invite "Mr. Applegate" to come brainstorm with us about what we would do with the Fuhrer.

Agenda item: New business. You Julian Calendar addicts will like this one. Tomorrow, April 5, stop what you're doing at two minutes and three seconds past one o'clock. You will then experience a cosmic moment:
This applies only to those who follow the Julian Calendar. Frankly, Queen Brighid the Bright has jars of jam older than the Julian Calendar.

Today's topic: Intelligent Design.

We haven't talked about Intelligent Design for awhile, but it's always a hot button issue around here. With spring blooming all about, once again we're tempted into wondering if the earth was made, or just happened.

From Huckleberry Finn:

"It's lovely to live on a raft. We had the sky up there, all speckled with stars, and we used to lay on our backs and look up at them, and discuss about whether they was made or only just happened. Jim he allowed they was made, but I allowed they happened; I judged it would have took too long to make so many. Jim said the moon could 'a' laid them; well, that looked kind of reasonable, so I didn't say nothing against it, because I've seen a frog lay most as many, so of course it could be done."

Oh, what magnificent eloquence! I love Mark Twain. Don't you?

There's a core of common sense here that is hard to assail. Huck thinks the moon could have birthed the stars because he saw a frog lay almost as many eggs. Solid logic.

We here at "The Gods Are Bored" are all about sensible solutions to difficult cosmic conundrums. Therefore, in the grand tradition of Huckleberry Finn, we offer the following scenario for the Intelligent Design of the Universe:

"It's lovely to live in a suburb. Sometimes I hear the traffic roaring by, or the distant bleat of a car siren, and I wonder if the world was made, or if it just happened. I'm tempted to think it just happened. I judge it would just be too complicated to make something like this. But I've seen an earnest group of PTA Moms get their heads together and pull off an elaborate school fair with moon walks, and bake sales, and silent auctions, and beanbag tosses, and hair braiding, and prizes, and five different kids of pizza, and a DJ, and crafts, and a flower booth, and a little kiddie train chugging through the whole joyous romp. So of course, if you've got a committee of PTA Moms on the job, an intelligent universe could be designed in a jiffy."

And just a reminder: If you have a child in elementary school, this is the time of year when you dare not pick up the telephone. That PTA Mom is on the prowl, and she'll want you to take charge of a whole solar system.


Monday, April 03, 2006

Hell is a Bookstore on Broadway

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" You know, religion is like a horse race. You can back the favorite, but what does it get you? If your god wins, there's no profit. And if some other god -- say, a long-shot deity from some forgotten pantheon -- cruises over the finish line, wow! Ca-Ching!

Imagine. This kind of opener on a day when Anne is weighing her possibilities of eternal damnation. Cheeky doesn't begin to describe it.

Okay. Another analogy. You get sentenced to prison, and then when you get to prison they throw you in The Hole.

That's kind of what happened to me on Saturday. I had to go to Manhattan, and then I had to go with my husband to The Strand Bookstore. (Our business meeting did not go as planned. Don't ask. It wasn't about goats anyway.)

I detest Manhattan with every fiber in my being. And "The Hole" in Manhattan is The Strand. Take an old, dark building, pack it to the rafters with books, fill the narrow aisles with snobby New Yorkers, and voila!


So I'm crammed underground in this gigantic bookstore's tiny little section on "Occult" (into which they lump UFOs, Tarot, goddess stuff, and Psychic Encounters with Fluffy and Fifi). I feel the predictable upwelling of panic. So out I go onto Broadway, shuffling through the prison yard so to speak. And I get to thinking.

Watch out when Anne gets to thinking.

Suppose Anne's personal hell is to be confined for eternity to The Strand Bookstore? Ooops! Anne didn't get her God-ticket punched, and now she's stuck forever with 18 miles of books and no windows.

Oh, sure, you could spend a pleasant millennium or more reading all those volumes. You might get 10,000 years out of reading each one four or five times. But then eternity sets in. You memorize each and every line in each and every book. You memorize them backwards. You teach 10,000 monkeys to memorize each and every book perfectly. And still you're in that monstrously stuffy store! What then?

I'll tell you what then. I look up in heaven, I see God and my mega-church sister weeping for me (but not dealing out any breaks), and I shake my fist at them and say, "You know what? I wouldn't do this to Hitler! How can you do this to someone, just for praying to a goddess and some turkey vultures?"

And if the Supreme Being rejects this appeal, I'll just sit down right there in that crowded, dusty store. I'll rest my head on my shoulder. I'll fold an arm over my eyes. I'll feel that arm sprout feathers and the floor turn to a tree branch on a Blue Ridge Mountaintop. I'll sleep forever balanced on one gnarly foot, because you'll never meet a buzzard that can't bear discomfort.

I'd like to thank the ghost of Albert Camus for assisting me on this post. Of course he is far more eloquent, especially if you can read French.


Photo: The Strand Bookstore. Many, many, many, many people adore the place, so don't avoid it on my account!