Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Right Rock n Roll

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" We are dedicated to the proposition that all gods and goddesses are created equal, that they are endowed with the ability to comfort and redeem! So join us, won't you? Our operators are standing by to take your call.

My home internet is down, so it's the public library all week. Thank goodness the stern librarian seems to be off today, or maybe just at lunch. She hits every stereotype square on the head like a good union carpenter with a nail.

Today I'm wondering what John Lennon and Bob Marley would look like if they were alive today. I guess both would be in their sixties. And it boggles my mind that there are grown human beings out there, soldiers and parents, college graduates with master's degrees, who were born after they died.

I think John would be thin and craggy, thin gray hair, but still wearing those round sunglasses and the slouchy clothes. Whether or not he'd still be with Yoko is immaterial to the purpose of this post.

Bob would be gray, very thin still, and living in Ethiopia. (That's where his spirit is, after all. He's with Ja. You go, Bob!)

Why this idle line of thinking? It was sparked by the National Review's Top Ten Conservative Rock Songs of All Time.

Whose bright idea was this?

I ask because two songs written by John Lennon made the list: "Revolution" (original version, not Number 9) and "Tax Man."

Okay, folks, I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm hoping that this bold Conservative assertion sparks a new interest in John Lennon's music. Perhaps a "Greatest Hits" CD with a picture of him and Yoko naked in bed protesting the Vietnam War as its cover art.

Ah, yes. John Lennon, rocker of the Far Right. He's imagining there's no heaven, no hell below us, no religion too. All the people, living for today. No country to live or die for.

Imagine all the people, living life in peace.

You may say I'm a dreamer, but I do hope John was an atheist. Otherwise he's gnashing his teeth in some heaven somewhere, threatening to come back as an American Gandhi.

And while we're on the subject of Conservative rock, how egregious that they missed Bob Marley!

"Get up, stand up
Stand up for The Right..."

Do I have that correct?

AREA 14, STAR 14

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Something God Loves

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," faithfully promoting under-utilized deities since 2005!

Is there anything more depressing than having your name shouted adoringly from millions of lips through a thousand generations, and then suddenly being nothing more than a rock carving in the antiquities room at the Kankakee Museum? Let's show those bored gods and goddesses some reverence! It will bring tears to their eyes.

There's a lot of talk these days about the many people and things God hates. Why, you can find whole web sites dedicated to all that God despises. We at "The Gods Are Bored" are not going to try to reconcile this with the assertion that God Is Love. We're goat judges, not philosophers.

However, straight from Anne's hometown comes proof beyond any doubt that God does love something!

And a wise choice at that.

AREA 14, STAR 14

Friday, May 26, 2006

Prayer for the Dark Moon

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" We don't usually double-post, but today is a day of thanksgiving here.

Someone took this picture of me at the Spoutwood Fairie Festival. It's in the Spoutwood 2006 photo album. The person must have used a telephoto lens, because I didn't know I was being observed.

No, I'm not stoned. Just content. It was a faerie festival.

If you look closely, you can see my faeries, Princess and Puck. Puck is the blue one.

Maybe you've heard of the Goddess Brighid the Bright. I don't think she's ever qualified as "bored," because people have prayed to her all along by one name or another.

I have lately been introduced to an educated Druid lady named Athelia. She has this beautiful poem of her composition on her web site. I post this in personal gratitude to the Goddess of Home and Hearth, and I thank Athelia for her artistry.

Brighid’s Song
By: Athelia Nihtscada, 2000

I am the flickering flame of the candle,
I am the fire of Inspiration
And the warmth of Hearth and Home
You have known me since time immortal
For I am the protection of the loving mother’s arms
I bring healing and comfort to all of my Children
My milk it is that feeds the lambs,
And my Love it is that feeds the soul.

I am the Fire of Inspiration,
The Essence of Awen.
My Words are they that fills the Poet’s heart
My Vision it is that fills the Artist’s eyes
My Music it is that fills the soul of the Bard.

I am the Heat of the Forge.
My Breath it is that sustains the flame
My Essence it is that transforms the lighted metal
My Passion it is that fuel’s the Craftsman’s art,
And gives the Secrets of the Elements to the Smith.

Comfort, o Goddess, those in need of your care.

So might it be.



Thursday, May 25, 2006

Epona on Ungrateful Barbarians

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Thanks for dropping by. Trust me, the bored gods and goddesses really appreciate it.

And you should see our Waiting Room today. It is chock-a-block with bored gods! Anne has been wringing her hands lately and gazing at her navel instead of seeing to these lonely deities. Bad Anne. Very bad.

So it's been a veritable God Triage Operation this afternoon, trying to figure out quickly who ought to have the podium today. And the winner is . . . the Goddess Epona!

For those of you not up-to-date on your ancient pantheons, Epona was widely venerated through Europe back in the misty reaches of time. And justifiably so. She gave humankind a gift -- the horse!

But as with every other gift from the gods, right down to Gaia herself, humans have abused their privileges, horse-wise. Let's give a big "Gods Are Bored" welcome to Epona!

Anne: Epona, you are sorely grieved. It's evident from the way you're ripping up your riding habit.

Epona: Yes. Oh yes! I wish I could turn back time. I'd make horses carnivores and set them upon Homo erectus, and your species would be toast.

Anne: I think I know what's got you going. (My goat judge expertise helps here.) You're furious about the Kentucky Derby, how Barbaro was bred to have massive, powerful haunches poised on his elongated ankle and toe bones, culminating in his hooves.

Epona: Correct. It's like asking a bunch of three-year-old children to run at breakneck speed in toeshoes.

Anne: Or booty-rich geezers like me to streak off in stilettos.

Epona: I dare you.

Anne: Pass.

Epona: I gave humankind horses for transportation and help with crops. Not to be lashed to war chariots. Not to be finely tuned for speed, so fat cats can buy them and race them and poor folks can lose their shirts betting on them.

Anne: And not to be sold as babies to the dog food factory, either.

Epona: Correct. Now, when I first doled out the horse to people, at least they were grateful to me, and careful with their new domestic species. But that was thousands of years ago. Since then it's been a steady downhill slide, both for me and for horses. And we're both sick of it.

Anne: Some religions say that animals have no souls. Other religions feel that all living things possess an eternal spark, from bird flu viruses to giant Sequoia trees. So, what's your take on horse souls?

Epona: Oh, horses have souls. Trust me. Have you ever looked one straight in the eye?

Anne: Goats are my specialty, not horses.

Epona: Oh yes, that's right.

Anne: And I have recommended more than one laid-back goat for use as a stall companion for a high-strung young thoroughbred. However, after delivering a goat, I spend as little time at the horse-training facility as I can. To me the whole horse racing industry provides a clear-cut case against eugenics. If we consider it a sin to breed a Master Race of humans, why is it okay to breed a Master Race of horses, and damn their nagging little injuries?

Epona: I'm thinking of rescinding my offer.

Anne: Can't blame you a bit. But you know, human beings are so despicable that, for lack of horses, they'd probably start racing Galapagos tortoises. Anything that can move. The idea is to part people with their money, and call it "sport." Look what they do to greyhounds!

Epona: Miserable, wretched humans. I was just trying to be helpful, give your sorry species a lift -- so to speak -- and look how it turns out!

Anne: I wish I could apologize for the whole human race, honored goddess, but I can't. Maybe I can cheer you up, though. Have you ever read Misty of Chincoteague?

Epona: Oh, I love that book!

Anne: Well, it's shaping up to be a splendid day. If we get out of here before the Memorial Day rush, we could go stroll along Assateague Island and see the wild ponies.

Epona: A capital idea. Go grab your bathing suit!

Anne: Oh ... errrr ... ummmm ... I won't need my bathing suit. The water's too cold. I'll just wear this nice, slimming sweatsuit. Yeah. And then I won't get sunburnt, either!

Epona: Let's stop at the supermarket and get some carrots.

Anne: Are you kidding? I'm a goat judge. I always have massive supplies of carrots. But we will need some ice and beer. And, by the way, honored goddess: Is Barbaro going to be okay?

Epona: Barbaro will be fine. It's the Barbarians that worry me.

Anne: Point taken.

Epona: You're going to roast in that sweatsuit.

AREA 14, STAR 14

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

If God Is German, What's All That Ugly Screaming About?

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Eyeball Vulture and I greet you in the name of the Many Gods and Goddesses, Universal!

Have you ever noticed how, after the worst storms, the sun will come out almost immediately? One is tempted to attribute that to Intelligent Design -- the better to see the wreckage of your tornado-ravaged home.

Well, the sun has come out here at Johnson Central after months and months of darkness! A buyer has come forward for Mr. Johnson's plant, and the buyer not only will work with the unions, but he also wants to make improvements! This transaction removes Mr. Johnson's plant from ownership that has to answer to Wall Street's demands -- it's historic, in fact.

We were all so happy here at Chateau Johnson last night that we went on a You Tube binge and danced with the latest batch of foster kittens!

And lest we forget that others are not so lucky, Anne pledges to continue working on behalf of labor unions everywhere. Join "The Gods Are Bored" June 2 when we picket Wal-Mart! Details later.

So! This frees us to return to the fabulous theme of "The Gods Are Bored," namely ... errr ... gods.

About a week ago, a German reader posted a cryptic message in my overflowing Comments bin. It read:


And, by cracky, when I went to the peerless God-Checker to confirm, indeed their encyclopedic list of pantheons did not include any German deities.

Case closed? God is German? Appears to be true.

(Aw, shucks, I learned the wrong languages. How the heck am I gonna pray now?)

But wait! Hold the phone! Anne dips deep into her memory and unearths a bizarre hillbilly paradox!

Anne's best friends in high school just loved Wagner.

Yeah, and you thought Appalachians were all nose-picking Crackers, huh?

Anne's friends would sucker her into an afternoon get-together, and then gang up and out-vote Anne on the entertainment. It was the Ring Cycle all the way, every last hideously ugly minute of it. You could almost smell the napalm in the morning. And that movie hadn't even come out yet.

So it's God-Checker that comes up short on this one. Our German reader forgets the Valkyries and their sordid yelping as they freight dead warriors to Valhalla.

If heavenly angels sound like that, God would do better to round up a few randy tomcats and heave them into a backyard with a really tall fence.

We at "The Gods Are Bored" therefore do not endorse the notion that God is German. Or that God was ever German. We have it on good authority that God is, in fact, Jewish.

We at "The Gods Are Bored" do not intend to denigrate the Jewish God. It's bad taste and smacks of staining the furniture.

However, where Valkyries are concerned, we strongly advocate beating a hasty retreat to the soothing stylings of Miles Davis. Or even a recording of The Selected Speeches of Calvin Coolidge.

With a song in my heart (anything but Wagner),

AREA 14, STAR 14

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

In Honor of Chonganda, Awesome God of the Congo

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" This is the first time we've posted someone else's work, but we will attribute it.

This essay is given to you in honor of Chonganda, sacred ancient god of the Congolese people. This is my way of honoring Chonganda for listening to my prayers.

Warning: This is long, but if you start reading it you won't be able to stop.

Shakespeare in the Bush
An American anthropologist set out to study the Tiv of West Africa and was taught the true meaning of Hamlet.

By Laura Bohannan -- 1966

Just before I left Oxford for the Tiv in West Africa, conversation turned to the season at Stratford. “You Americans,” said a friend, “often have difficulty with Shakespeare. He was, after all, a very English poet, and one can easily misinterpret the universal by misunderstanding the particular.”

I protested that human nature is pretty much the same the whole world over; at least the general plot and motivation of the greater tragedies would always be clear—everywhere—although some details of custom might have to be explained and difficulties of translation might produce other slight changes. To end an argument we could not conclude, my friend gave me a copy of Hamlet to study in the African bush: it would, he hoped, lift my mind above its primitive surroundings, and possibly I might, by prolonged meditation, achieve the grace of correct interpretation.

It was my second field trip to that African tribe, and I thought myself ready to live in one of its remote sections—an area difficult to cross even on foot. I eventually settled on the hillock of a very knowledgeable old man, the head of a homestead of some hundred and forty people, all of whom were either his close relatives or their wives and children. Like the other elders of the vicinity, the old man spent most of his time performing ceremonies seldom seen these days in the more accessible parts of the tribe.

I was delighted. Soon there would be three months of enforced isolation and leisure, between the harvest that takes place just before the rising of the swamps and the clearing of new farms when the water goes down. Then, I thought, they would have even more time to perform ceremonies and explain them to me.

I was quite mistaken. Most of the ceremonies demanded the presence of elders from several homesteads. As the swamps rose, the old men found it too difficult to walk from one homestead to the next, and the ceremonies gradually ceased. As the swamps rose even higher, all activities but one came to an end. The women brewed beer from maize and millet. Men, women, and children sat on their hillocks and drank it.
People began to drink at dawn. By midmorning the whole homestead was singing, dancing, and drumming. When it rained, people had to sit inside their huts: there they drank and sang or they drank and told stories.

In any case, by noon or before, I either had to join the party or retire to my own hut and my books. “One does not discuss serious matters when there is beer. Come, drink with us.”

Since I lacked their capacity for the thick native beer, I spent more and more time with Hamlet. Before the end of the second month, grace descended on me. I was quite sure that Hamlet had only one possible interpretation, and that one universally obvious.

Early every morning, in the hope of having some serious talk before the beer party, I used to call on the old man at his reception hut—a circle of posts supporting a thatched roof above a low mud wall to keep out wind and rain. One day I crawled through the low doorway and found most of the men of the homestead sitting huddled in their ragged cloths on stools, low plank beds, and reclining chairs, warming themselves against the chill of the rain around a smoky fire. In the center were three pots of beer. The party had started.

The old man greeted me cordially. “Sit down and drink.” I accepted a large calabash full of beer, poured some into a small drinking gourd, and tossed it down. Then I poured some more into the same gourd for the man second in seniority to my host before I handed my calabash over to a young man for further distribution. Important people shouldn’t ladle beer themselves.

“It is better like this,” the old man said, looking at me approvingly and plucking at the thatch that had caught in my hair. “You should sit and drink with us more often. Your servants tell me that when you are not with us, you sit inside your hut looking at a paper.”

This morning they wanted to hear a story while they drank. They threatened to tell me no more stories until I told them one of mine. . . . Realizing that here was my chance to prove Hamlet universally intelligible, I agreed.

The old man was acquainted with four kinds of “papers”: tax receipts, bride price receipts, court fee receipts, and letters. The messenger who brought him letters from the chief used them mainly as a badge of office, for he always knew what was in them and told the old man. Personal letters for the few who had relatives in the government or mission stations were kept until someone went to a large market where there was a letter writer and reader.

Since my arrival, letters were brought to me to be read. A few men also brought me bride price receipts, privately, with requests to change the figures to a higher sum. I found moral arguments were of no avail, since in-laws are fair game, and the technical hazards of forgery difficult to explain to an illiterate people. I did not wish them to think me silly enough to look at any such papers for days on end, and I hastily explained that my “paper” was one of the “things of long ago” of my country.

“Ah,” said the old man. “Tell us.” I protested that I was not a storyteller. Storytelling is a skilled art among them; their standards are high, and the audiences critical—and vocal in their criticism. I protested in vain. Finally, the old man promised that no one would criticize my style, “for we know you are struggling with our language.” “But,” put in one of the elders, “you must explain what we do not understand, as we do when we tell you our stories.”

The old man handed me some more beer to help me on with my storytelling. Men filled their long wooden pipes and knocked coals from the fire to place in the pipe bowls; then, puffing contentedly, they sat back to listen. I began in the proper style, “Not yesterday, not yesterday, but long ago, a thing occurred. One night three men were keeping watch outside the homestead of the great chief, when suddenly they saw the former chief approach them.”

“Why was he no longer their chief?”

“He was dead,” I explained. “That is why they were troubled and afraid when they saw him.”

“Impossible,” began one of the elders, handing his pipe on to his neighbor, who interrupted, “Of course it wasn’t the dead chief. It was an omen sent by a witch. Go on.”

Slightly shaken, I continued. “One of these three was a man who knew things”—the closest translation for scholar, but unfortunately it also meant witch. The second elder looked triumphantly at the first. “So he spoke to the dead chief saying, ‘Tell us what we must do so you may rest in your grave,’ but the dead chief did not answer. He vanished, and they could see him no more. Then the man who knew things—his name was Horatio—said this event was the affair of the dead chief’s son, Hamlet.”

There was a general shaking of heads round the circle. “Had the dead chief no living brothers? Or was this son the chief?”

“No,” I replied. “That is, he had one living brother who became the chief when the elder brother died.”

The old men muttered: such omens were matters for chiefs and elders, not for youngsters; no good could come of going behind a chief’s back; clearly Horatio was not a man who knew things.

“Yes, he was,” I insisted, shooing a chicken away from my beer. “In our country the son is next to the father. The dead chief’s younger brother had become the great chief. He had also married his elder brother’s widow only about a month after the funeral.”

“He did well,” the old man beamed and announced to the others, “I told you that if we knew more about Europeans, we would find they really were very like us. In our country also,” he added to me, “the younger brother marries the elder brother’s widow and becomes the father of his children. Now, if your uncle, who married your widowed mother, is your father’s full brother, then he will be a real father to you. Did Hamlet’s father and uncle have one mother?”

His question barely penetrated my mind; I was too upset and thrown too far off-balance by having one of the most important elements of Hamlet knocked straight out of the picture. Rather uncertainly I said that I thought they had the same mother, but I wasn’t sure—the story didn’t say. The old man told me severely that these genealogical details made all the difference and that when I got home I must ask the elders about it. He shouted out the door to one of his younger wives to bring his goatskin bag.

Determined to save what I could of the mother motif, I took a deep breath and began again. “The son Hamlet was very sad because his mother had married again so quickly. There was no need for her to do so, and it is our custom for a widow not to go to her next husband until she has mourned for two years.”

“Two years is too long,” objected the wife, who had appeared with the old man’s battered goatskin bag. “Who will hoe your farms for you while you have no husband?”

“Hamlet,” I retorted, without thinking, “was old enough to hoe his mother’s farms himself. There was no need for her to remarry.” No one looked convinced. I gave up. “His mother and the great chief told Hamlet not to be sad, for the great chief himself would be a father to Hamlet. Furthermore, Hamlet would be the next chief: therefore he must stay to learn the things of a chief. Hamlet agreed to remain, and all the rest went off to drink beer.”

While I paused, perplexed at how to render Hamlet’s disgusted soliloquy to an audience convinced that Claudius and Gertrude had behaved in the best possible manner, one of the younger men asked me who had married the other wives of the dead chief.

“He had no other wives,” I told him.

“But a chief must have many wives! How else can he brew beer and prepare food for all his guests?”

I said firmly that in our country even chiefs had only one wife, that they had servants to do their work, and that they paid them from tax money.

It was better, they returned, for a chief to have many wives and sons who would help him hoe his farms and feed his people; then everyone loved the chief who gave much and took nothing—taxes were a bad thing.

I agreed with the last comment, but for the rest fell back on their favorite way of fobbing off my questions: “That is the way it is done, so that is how we do it.”

I decided to skip the soliloquy. Even if Claudius was here thought quite right to marry his brother’s widow, there remained the poison motif, and I knew they would disapprove of fratricide.

More hopefully I resumed, “That night Hamlet kept watch with the three who had seen his dead father. The dead chief again appeared, and although the others were afraid, Hamlet followed his dead father off to one side. When they were alone, Hamlet’s dead father spoke.”

“Omens can’t talk!” The old man was emphatic.

“Hamlet’s dead father wasn’t an omen. Seeing him might have been an omen, but he was not.”

My audience looked as confused as I sounded. “It was Hamlet’s dead father. It was a thing we call a ‘ghost.’” I had to use the English word, for unlike many of the neighboring tribes, these people didn’t believe in the survival after death of any individuating part of the personality.

“What is a ‘ghost?’ An omen?”

“No, a ‘ghost’ is someone who is dead but who walks around and can talk, and people can hear him and see him but not touch him.”

They objected. “One can touch zombis.”

“No, no! It was not a dead body the witches had animated to sacrifice and eat. No one else made Hamlet’s dead father walk. He did it himself.”

“Dead men can’t walk,” protested my audience as one man.

I was quite willing to compromise.

“A ‘ghost’ is the dead man’s shadow.”

But again they objected. “Dead men cast no shadows.”

“They do in my country,” I snapped.

The old man quelled the babble of disbelief that arose immediately and told me with that insincere, but courteous, agreement one extends to the fancies of the young, ignorant, and superstitious, “No doubt in your country the dead can also walk without being zombis.”

From the depths of his bag he produced a withered fragment of kola nut, bit off one end to show it wasn’t poisoned, and handed me the rest as a peace offering.

“Anyhow,” I resumed, “Hamlet’s dead father said that his own brother, the one who became chief, had poisoned him. He wanted Hamlet to avenge him. Hamlet believed this in his heart, for he did not like his father’s brother.” I took another swallow of beer. “In the country of the great chief, living in the same homestead, for it was a very large one, was an important elder who was often with the chief to advise and help him. His name was Polonius. Hamlet was courting his daughter, but her father and her brother . . . [I cast hastily about for some tribal analogy] warned her not to let Hamlet visit her when she was alone on her farm, for he would be a great chief and so could not marry her.”

“Why not?” asked the wife, who had settled down on the edge of the old man’s chair. He frowned at her for asking stupid questions and growled, “They lived in the same homestead.”

“That was not the reason,” I informed them. “Polonius was a stranger who lived in the homestead because he helped the chief, not because he was a relative.”

“Then why couldn’t Hamlet marry her?”

“He could have,” I explained, “but Polonius didn’t think he would. After all, Hamlet was a man of great importance who ought to marry a chief’s daughter, for in his country a man could have only one wife. Polonius was afraid that if Hamlet made love to his daughter, then no one else would give a high price for her.”

“That might be true,” remarked one of the shrewder elders, “but a chief’s son would give his mistress’s father enough presents and patronage to more than make up the difference. Polonius sounds like a fool to me.”

“Many people think he was,” I agreed. “Meanwhile Polonius sent his son Laertes off to Paris to learn the things of that country, for it was the homestead of a very great chief indeed. Because he was afraid that Laertes might waste a lot of money on beer and women and gambling, or get into trouble by fighting, he sent one of his servants to Paris secretly, to spy out what Laertes was doing. One day Hamlet came upon Polonius’s daughter Ophelia. He behaved so oddly he frightened her. Indeed”—I was fumbling for words to express the dubious quality of Hamlet’s madness—“the chief and many others had also noticed that when Hamlet talked one could understand the words but not what they meant. Many people thought that he had become mad.”

My audience suddenly became much more attentive. “The great chief wanted to know what was wrong with Hamlet, so he sent for two of Hamlet’s age mates [school friends would have taken a long explanation] to talk to Hamlet and find out what troubled his heart. Hamlet, seeing that they had been bribed by the chief to betray him, told them nothing. Polonius, however, insisted that Hamlet was mad because he had been forbidden to see Ophelia, whom he loved.”

“Why,” inquired a bewildered voice, “should anyone bewitch Hamlet on that account?”

“Bewitch him?”

“Yes, only witchcraft can make anyone mad, unless, of course, one sees the beings that lurk in the forest.”

I stopped being a storyteller and took out my notebook and demanded to be told more about these two causes of madness. Even while they spoke and I jotted notes, I tried to calculate the effect of this new factor on the plot. Hamlet had not been exposed to the beings that lurk in the forests. Only his relatives in the male line could bewitch him. Barring relatives not mentioned by Shakespeare, it had to be Claudius who was attempting to harm him. And, of course, it was.

For the moment I staved off questions by saying that the great chief also refused to believe that Hamlet was mad for the love of Ophelia and nothing else. “He was sure that something much more important was troubling Hamlet’s heart.”

“Now Hamlet’s age mates,” I continued, “had brought with them a famous storyteller. Hamlet decided to have this man tell the chief and all his homestead a story about a man who had poisoned his brother because he desired his brother’s wife and wished to be chief himself. Hamlet was sure the great chief could not hear the story without making a sign if he was indeed guilty, and then he would discover whether his dead father had told him the truth.”

The old man interrupted, with deep cunning, “Why should a father lie to his son?” he asked.

I hedged: “Hamlet wasn’t sure that it really was his dead father.” It was impossible to say anything, in that language, about devil-inspired visions.

The old men looked at each other in supreme disgust. "That Polonius truly was a fool and a man who knew nothing!"

“You mean,” he said, “it actually was an omen, and he knew witches sometimes send false ones. Hamlet was a fool not to go to one skilled in reading omens and divining the truth in the first place. A man-who-sees-the-truth could have told him how his father died, if he really had been poisoned, and if there was witchcraft in it; then Hamlet could have called the elders to settle the matter.”

The shrewd elder ventured to disagree. “Because his father’s brother was a great chief, one-who-sees-the-truth might therefore have been afraid to tell it. I think it was for that reason that a friend of Hamlet’s father—a witch and an elder—sent an omen so his friend’s son would know. Was the omen true?”

“Yes,” I said, abandoning ghosts and the devil; a witch-sent omen it would have to be. “It was true, for when the storyteller was telling his tale before all the homestead, the great chief rose in fear. Afraid that Hamlet knew his secret he planned to have him killed.”

The stage set of the next bit presented some difficulties of translation. I began cautiously. “The great chief told Hamlet’s mother to find out from her son what he knew. But because a woman’s children are always first in her heart, he had the important elder Polonius hide behind a cloth that hung against the wall of Hamlet’s mother’s sleeping hut. Hamlet started to scold his mother for what she had done.”

There was a shocked murmur from everyone. A man should never scold his mother.

“She called out in fear, and Polonius moved behind the cloth. Shouting, ‘A rat!’ Hamlet took his machete and slashed through the cloth.” I paused for dramatic effect. “He had killed Polonius.”

The old men looked at each other in supreme disgust. “That Polonius truly was a fool and a man who knew nothing! What child would not know enough to shout, ‘It's me!’”

With a pang, I remembered that these people are ardent hunters, always armed with bow, arrow, and machete; at the first rustle in the grass an arrow is aimed and ready, and the hunter shouts “Game!” If no human voice answers immediately, the arrow speeds on its way. Like a good hunter, Hamlet had shouted, “A rat!”

I rushed in to save Polonius’s reputation. “Polonius did speak. Hamlet heard him. But he thought it was the chief and wished to kill him to avenge his father. He had meant to kill him earlier that evening. . . .” I broke down, unable to describe to these pagans, who had no belief in individual afterlife, the difference between dying at one’s prayers and dying “unhousell’d, disappointed, unaneled.”

This time I had shocked my audience seriously. “For a man to raise his hand against his father’s brother and the one who has become his father—that is a terrible thing. The elders ought to let such a man be bewitched.”

I nibbled at my kola nut in some perplexity, then pointed out that after all the man had killed Hamlet’s father.

“No,” pronounced the old man, speaking less to me than to the young men sitting behind the elders. “If your father’s brother has killed your father, you must appeal to your father’s age mates: they may avenge him. No man may use violence against his senior relatives.” Another thought struck him. “But if his father’s brother had indeed been wicked enough to bewitch Hamlet and make him mad that would be a good story indeed, for it would be his fault that Hamlet, being mad, no longer had any sense and thus was ready to kill his father’s brother.”

There was a murmur of applause. Hamlet was again a good story to them, but it no longer seemed quite the same story to me. As I thought over the coming complications of plot and motive, I lost courage and decided to skim over dangerous ground quickly.

“The great chief,” I went on, “was not sorry that Hamlet had killed Polonius. It gave him a reason to send Hamlet away, with his two treacherous age mates, with letters to a chief of a far country, saying that Hamlet should be killed. But Hamlet changed the writing on their papers, so that the chief killed his age mates instead.”

I encountered a reproachful glare from one of the men whom I had told undetectable forgery was not merely immoral but beyond human skill. I looked the other way.

“Before Hamlet could return, Laertes came back for his father’s funeral. The great chief told him Hamlet had killed Polonius. Laertes swore to kill Hamlet because of this, and because his sister Ophelia, hearing her father had been killed by the man she loved, went mad and drowned in the river.”

“Have you already forgotten what we told you?” The old man was reproachful. “One cannot take vengeance on a madman; Hamlet killed Polonius in his madness. As for the girl, she not only went mad, she was drowned. Only witches can make people drown. Water itself can’t hurt anything. It is merely something one drinks and bathes in.”

I began to get cross. “If you don’t like the story, I’ll stop.”

The old man made soothing noises and himself poured me some more beer. “You tell the story well, and we are listening. But it is clear that the elders of your country have never told you what the story really means. No, don’t interrupt! We believe you when you say your marriage customs are different, or your clothes and weapons. But people are the same everywhere; therefore, there are always witches and it is we, the elders, who know how witches work. We told you it was the great chief who wished to kill Hamlet, and now your own words have proved us right. Who were Ophelia’s male relatives?”

“There were only her father and her brother.” Hamlet was clearly out of my hands.

“There must have been many more; this also you must ask of your elders when you get back to your country. From what you tell us, since Polonius was dead, it must have been Laertes who killed Ophelia, although I do not see the reason for it.”

We had emptied one pot of beer, and the old men argued the point with slightly tipsy interest. Finally one of them demanded of me, “What did the servant of Polonius say on his return?”

With difficulty I recollected Reynaldo and his mission. “I don’t think he did return before Polonius was killed.”

“Listen,” said the elder, “and I will tell you how it was and how your story will go, then you may tell me if I am right. Polonius knew his son would get into trouble, and so he did. He had many fines to pay for fighting, and debts from gambling. But he had only two ways of getting money quickly. One was to marry off his sister at once, but it is difficult to find a man who will marry a woman desired by the son of a chief. For if the chief’s heir commits adultery with your wife, what can you do? Only a fool calls a case against a man who will someday be his judge. Therefore Laertes had to take the second way: he killed his sister by witchcraft, drowning her so he could secretly sell her body to the witches.”

I raised an objection. “They found her body and buried it. Indeed Laertes jumped into the grave to see his sister once more—so, you see, the body was truly there. Hamlet, who had just come back, jumped in after him.”

“What did I tell you?” The elder appealed to the others. “Laertes was up to no good with his sister’s body. Hamlet prevented him, because the chief’s heir, like a chief, does not wish any other man to grow rich and powerful. Laertes would be angry, because he would have killed his sister without benefit to himself. In our country he would try to kill Hamlet for that reason. Is this not what happened?”

“More or less,” I admitted. “When the great chief found Hamlet was still alive, he encouraged Laertes to try to kill Hamlet and arranged a fight with machetes between them. In the fight both the young men were wounded to death. Hamlet’s mother drank the poisoned beer that the chief meant for Hamlet in case he won the fight. When he saw his mother die of poison, Hamlet, dying, managed to kill his father’s brother with his machete.”

“You see, I was right!” exclaimed the elder.

“That was a very good story,” added the old man, “and you told it with very few mistakes.” There was just one more error, at the very end. The poison Hamlet’s mother drank was obviously meant for the survivor of the fight, whichever it was. If Laertes had won, the great chief would have poisoned him, for no one would know that he arranged Hamlet’s death. Then, too, he need not fear Laertes’ witchcraft; it takes a strong heart to kill one’s only sister by witchcraft.

“Sometime,” concluded the old man, gathering his ragged toga about him, “you must tell us some more stories of your country. We, who are elders, will instruct you in their true meaning, so that when you return to your own land your elders will see that you have not been sitting in the bush, but among those who know things and who have taught you wisdom.”

ALL GLORY, LAUD AND HONOR TO THE WISE TIV! (Recognizing that the Tiv do not live in the Congo)

Posted by Anne in gratitude to Chonganda.

The Long Trip down Anxiety Boulevard

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where we recognize that suffering comes to everyone and we should therefore look out for one another.

Yesterday the newspapers reported that a deal was near on the sale of my husband's plant. The prospective owners promised to negotiate with the unions and said they viewed the puchase as a long-range investment. The investment group is independent of the stock market and therefore doesn't have to answer to demanding brokers.

Today the deal is still pending, there's no ink on the bill of sale, and no one knows what the holdup could be. There are other bidders who have promised war with the unions and maximum layoffs, if not downright closure.

No matter how the deal turns out on my husband's plant, I think constantly of all the Americans who have been down this road: Anxiety Boulevard. It dead-ends at Need Street, deep in the Deprivation Zone.

Elsewhere it's worse. Children starve while our nation pours its funds into a war machine. What does all this say about America?

We here at "The Gods Are Bored" condemn greed as the deadliest sin. No matter if you believe in God, the bored gods, or no god at all, you must agree with me that the few prosper at the expense of the many, and this is not right. This is not how it should be.

Choose James McMurtry after clicking here. It's a long song, but so is our national anthem.

AREA 14, STAR 14

Monday, May 22, 2006

Rick Santorum and The Village People

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," your speedy drive-thru deity service! We know you're busy, so we're working hard to have fresh, healthy gods and goddesses ready for you at all times!

Yesterday's post caused a crisis in Hell. My old relative, Satan, discovered that his formal attire closely resembles the Jabberwocky's. Now he has to be re-fitted with all new duds. Sadly, he doesn't like to stand still, and he doesn't trust the tailors in his satellite office. They might jab him with a needle. Just by accident, of course.

Remember these guys? No? Geezer Annie does. They're the Village People. Bet you've heard that song, "YMCA," huh? Well then, here's the group that sang it! (Hey, don't pelt me with rocks. I didn't write that stupid ditty!)

What could these fine young men possibly have to do with Senator Rick Santorum? Other than he'd like to make sure they never get married?

I'm using them as counter-spokesmen for Rick's bestseller, It Takes a Family.

Right now, everyone else is making a big deal about how Rick is a senator from Pennsylvania, but his Pennsylvania home has two bedrooms and one bath, and no furniture. Well, of course! You couldn't house 6 kids in a two-bedroom shack! That hasn't been done since the 1930s!

Rick's a good daddy. He wants to come home from work at night to be with his family. Ergo, he has a million-dollar shack in the Virginia suburbs of DC that has plenty of shelf space for those well-thumbed copies of Of Pandas and People.

Anyway. To the point. I took deep offense at Rick's suggestion that the nuclear family is paramount in raising kids. Of course it's optimal if you think historically and not geologically. But we're geologic thinkers on this site!

How long would Homo sapiens last as a species if families lived in isolation and didn't interact with the wider world? How would the species have developed in the first place. The ape model is community-based, even if most members of the community are related somehow. We go in groups. Always have, always will.

I think of this often because once my daughter The Spare was in a really bad automobile accident. She was carpooling in a van driven by another mom and coming home from dancing class, where a teacher was showing a bunch of little girls skills that Anne doesn't have.

The accident was not the mom driver's fault. But it was a whopper. Because she was sitting in the back seat and securely buckled in, The Spare was not hurt. A few dings. Same with her little gal-pal sitting next to her. The people who caused the accident were injured in a gory manner, not something you want your little 8-year-old to have to see.

The mom got injured but managed to call me on the cell phone and tell me where they were. I dived in my car and went ripping over, but still it took me about 8 minutes to get there, especially since the accident tied up traffic on a very busy artery.

In that 8 minutes, some complete stranger stopped her car, got out, and wrapped The Spare in her arms so The Spare wouldn't have to see the worst parts of the gore. When I arrived, this woman, whose name I didn't even think to get, was hugging my child. As soon as she saw me re-united with The Spare, she got back in her car and drove off.

I would do the same thing in similar circumstances.

And that's what epitomizes to me the phrase "it takes a village to raise a child." We should look out for other people's children as if they were our own. Not just at church on Sunday morning, but every minute.

One wonders how prepared these isolated, home-schooled kids will be to enter the wider world of making a living, volunteering for community service other than in a church setting, and most importantly, interacting politely with folks who don't agree with their views and values.

We at "The Gods Are Bored" endorse The Village People and the village model for nurturing youngsters. It's all part of our big, broad, flexible outlook.

One last note: I call my daughters The Heir and The Spare (with my usual sick humor of course) because the European royal women were supposed to have at least two male children: an Heir and a Spare. I learned this watching a tv special about Princess Diana. Remember her?

AREA 14, STAR 14

Saturday, May 20, 2006


Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" You're just in time for Poetry Hour.

Tis brilliant how the slimy Roves
Have wired and swindled in waves,
And flimsy are the borrowed loads
Of money they've waylaid.

Beware the CEO, my son,
He uses might the jobs to snatch!
Beware Red pundits having fun
With all the nasty lies they hatch!

He took his union card in hand
Longtime the busting foes he fought.
Blacklisted he, from job set free,
His values come to naught.

So, art thou unemployed, my son?
Come to Wal-Mart, squeamish boy!
It's all the rage, this minimum wage,
Now stack those shelves with toys!

Tis brilliant how the slimy Roves
Have wired and swindled in waves,
And flimsy are the borrowed loads
Of money they've waylaid.

With apologies to Lewis Carroll.

AREA 14, STAR 14

Friday, May 19, 2006

Opus Dei v. Res Divina

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" We've been promoting deities who've been handed pink slips or buyouts while the One God Juggernaut rolls on. Join us! Our operators are standing by to take your call!

Today in the otherwise sane Philadelphia Inquirer, the op-ed page was dedicated to Opus Dei. Some lawyer from the Main Line wrote in saying he was in Opus Dei, a layman trying to live by the Scriptures, go to daily Mass, pray a rosary, and also get his day's work done and care for his kids. (So far, except for the names of the services, he's a Mormon.)

Then, after snookering you in to feeling that, hey, maybe Opus Dei isn't some fanatical secret society with a worldwide agenda, he lets the cat out of the bag.

Opus Dei is unifying force, he says, against the secularists and the pagans out there, who are growing in numbers and influence every day.

Translation: We at Opus Dei want to make the world Roman Catholic. That's our agenda, people. Live or die with it.

Duh. I wonder why secularists and pagans are growing in numbers every day?

As always, we at "The Gods Are Bored" have a fantastic solution to this vexing problem!

My Latin isn't strong. I didn't go to Catholic School. (surprise, surprise!) I only had one year of Latin in public school. So if I get this wrong, correct me:

Res Divina

Translation: Work for the Gods

You, yes you, could be a part of a new secret society, Res Divina, Work for the Gods! All you have to is promise to be completely open-minded about all the praise and worship teams out there! Don't spend hours praying that everyone in the world accept your sect's Plan of Salvation. Accept that there maybe, just maybe, might be multiple Plans of Salvation!

You'll save a lot of money, too, because Res Divina doesn't have to send big bucks to the Vatican. Or to "Focus on the Family." Or to the Committee to Re-Elect Senator Rick Santorum.

Heck, with the money you save, you might be able to take the tot to the doctor for that DPT shot!

So join Res Divina today, and adopt a big, broad, flexible outlook!

Well, we do have one commandment.

Don't stain the furniture.

AREA 14, STAR 14

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Womb with a View

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" We search out and promote the best and brightest deities. A "Gods Are Bored" shortlist citation is something worth having!

I'm a day late on this one, but apparently the Washington Post reports some health directive telling women that, from puberty to menopause, they should always consider themselves "pre-pregnant" and act accordingly.

Duly noted. My daughters, The Heir (16) and The Spare (12) will be beginning their regimen of folic acid vitamins tomorrow morning. I guess they'd better start having sex too. It's ever so much more of a burden to be pre-pregnant if you're also a virgin.

I don't know why I got to thinking about this last night after a soothing glass of Pinot. But we all know what happens when Anne starts thinking!

By Anne and some Really, Really Moronic TV Theme Song Writer

Green Acres is the place to be,
FaaaaaAAAArm livin' is the life for me!
Land stretchin' out so far and wide,
Take Manhattan, just give me that countryside!

Newww Yoooohrk is where I'd rother stay.
I get allergic smelling hay!
I just adore my penthouse view.
Darling, I love you, but give me Park Avenue.

The chores!

The stores!

Fresh air!

Times Square!

He (slightly threatening):
You are my wife .....


Hey. You're supposed to shout "Goodbye, City Life!" and get dragged bodily from your posh penthouse by my firm grip!

Get a real grip, wacko. Let's look at this honestly. You expect me to change my entire lifestyle, to live with crippling allergies in substandard conditions, because you want to move to the country. Forget it. I'm calling the best divorce lawyer in town.

But .... Honey!

Don't "honey" me. I went down there to "Petticoat Junction" with you. I saw those cute chicks at the Shady Rest Hotel. Why should I pull up stakes and go with you, just to find myself stranded in the woods when you say I "haven't grown" with you, you're heading off to Manhattan with Billi Jo? Bye Bye, farm boy!

Whatever happened to "honor and obey?" It's the Green Acres way!

She pelts him with folic acid tablets until he runs into the hall for cover. Then she throws all his clothes out the window. From penthouse height, they float dreamily down into the Manhattan rush hour traffic.


Some wombs prefer a view.

AREA 14, STAR 14

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Nice New Modern Word

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" If you're joining our readership for the first time, please be advised that we are Standing Room Only due to the legions and legions and legions of current subscribers!

Some days only the bored gods read my posts.

No complaints! I'm glad to be offering entertainment to the bored gods. How many games of Scrabble do you think Ishtar has played? I give her something to look forward to every day.

So, yesterday I asked for your opinions on a replacement word for the negatively-freighted term "pagan." The response was underwhelming. Humbling, in fact. I'm as popular as Milk and Cheese (Dairy Products Gone Bad).

So I put my Who CD on full blast, took a walk, and made up my own word, and thank you very much Computer Era for allowing caps in the middle of words!

Drum roll .........


Am I not the most brilliant thing on toast? I took the word "pagan," turned it around, and looked at it backwards. Up comes a different vowel, and OOOOO WEEEEE!

Another underwhelming response. Okay, I have thick skin. I can take it.

Some of you might think "pagan" is perfectly fine. Okay, we at "The Gods Are Bored" have a big, broad, flexible outlook. You go.

But we like NoGap because it can be an umbrella term to cover any and all praise and worship teams that can trace their lineage back deep into the past. Somehow, without a gap, ancient traditions have been passed on, even though it hasn't always been easy or in the best interests of a long, healthy life.

Also, this term is inclusive. It could apply to worshippers of Moche Indian gods and goddesses as well as your friendly neighborhood Wiccan.

Now, I want no rowdiness in the overcrowded "Gods Are Bored" arena! For crying out loud, I may live in New Jersey, but I'm not Bruce Springsteen! Stop inundating me with comments and queries! I'm a busy woman.


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The "H" Word, the "N" Word, and the "P" Word

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Polytheistic Pantheons Put Power and Purpose in your Plans!

More art work from the peerless Seitou. Gosh, I can hardly keep up with her! Remember, contact us if you want a piece of hers. PLEASE. You wouldn't cheat a young college kid, wouldya?

I let Milk and Cheese (Dairy Products Gone Bad) have their say yesterday. We're bullish on unions around here. And they may be back. Hey, they're more welcome than "Mr. Applegate." Rancid they are, but they don't frighten my foster kittens.

Today's topic: Word, word, word.

a.k.a. yokel, hayseed, trailer trash, redneck, gomer
A word coined around the turn of the twentieth century and not used in polite company today unless it's one H referring or speaking to another. Often used in a pejorative way to describe people who live in Appalachia.

Word #2: N
We will not print this word on our site because many of the same rules apply as above, and we are not African American. As with "hillbilly," there are many variations on this word, also used in pejorative ways by low class Caucasian morons.

Word #3: PAGAN
This one surprises you, right? Cause half of you reading this are pagans, and the other half are thinking about it. ("Paxton," a rare exception, seems to have disappeared from the radar.)

Let's dust off Anne's old dictionary, the one that doesn't include such seminal words as Internet, email, or iPod:

pagan: n. a heathen, a peasant, rustic, a person who is not a Christian, Moslem, or Jew; heathen: formerly, sometimes applied specif. to a non-Christian by Christians. 2. a person who has no religion.

Say What???

Okay, maybe it's Webster, or maybe it's me. Or maybe, just maybe, this ancient word (far, far more ancient than "hillbilly" or the "n" word) was used by Roman conquerors, and later Christian missionaries, to marginalize old religions.

Let's dissect:

heathen: a person who does not have any religion, or a group of people who do not worship Judeo-Christian gods. (This one is found in the Bible.)

peasant, rustic: Mmmmmmm. Hillbilly, perhaps? Pejorative slur to marginalize someone who doesn't dress or think like you do? Someone who creeps out in the woods to worship, instead of following your dogma?

person who is not Christian, Moslem, or Jew: Whoa. That covers a lotta ground. So does that mean Buddhists are pagans?

a person who has no religion: That's to make "heathen" more plain, I guess.

You could say that "pagan" is a word freighted with baggage. And note we didn't even get into the bad-ass motorcycle gangs who like to call themselves by that term.

Let's get real here. Every pagan I know is stuffed to the gills with religion! We here at "The Gods Are Bored" hear from Goddess-worshippers, Druids, Faerie Folks, Wiccans, and Spiritual Seekers. So "pagan" can't mean "heathen" or "person who has no religion." People who have no religion are Atheists.

Hey, another word! Atheist. Do you hear how intellectual and high-minded that sounds? And frankly (with apologies to the bored gods), I've never met an atheist who wasn't a deep thinker. Maybe you have. Maybe you once got into a bare-knuckle bar brawl with some eye-patched drunk who insisted on having you admit there's no god. But I doubt it.

So how come Atheists get a fancy, intellectual word, and Pagans get stuck with a leftover insult? Why do we let the Christians decide what to call us?

We at "The Gods Are Bored" advocate coining a new umbrella term to cover the resurgent Old-Time Religions that will reflect respect upon them all. Just now, with Milk and Cheese at our feet, we can't think of a good one. So if you are quicker with words than us, fling that winning term into a comment!

An aside for the kind Anonymous who saw me at the Fairie Festival and though I looked "happy and full of love": OH WHAT A SWEETIE YOU ARE! I want to bake you a pie! Right now things are tough at "The Gods Are Bored," and we sure do appreciate the compliments!

AREA 14, STAR 14

Monday, May 15, 2006

Onex Corp. and the Teamsters: Union Busting Morons

Welcome to "Nothing Moves in Philly without a Union!" We're Milk and Cheese. We've got union cards, you sleeze!

Onex Corporation of Toronto, Ontario, Canada represents everything that stinks of road kill in today's society.

We're Milk and Cheese. We don't do any damn linking. Just Google "onex teamsters" and you'll see magnificent morons run amok.

Onex Corporation wants to buy the two newspapers Anne reads everyday. (Hey, We're with the Grocery Local.) Onex Corporation wrote to the Pennsylvania Teamsters asking the Teamsters to turn their heads while Onex Corporation busts another union, the CWA-backed Newspaper Guild. Onex wants to HALVE the reporting and editing staffs at the already-skeletal newspapers.

Guess what the Teamsters said? Go kiss a wombat.

Milk and Cheese would have used another approach. Google Slave Labor Graphics to get a look at how we handle unpleasant situations. (Of course our picture paints a thousand words, doesn't it?)

Yo, Onex, lissen up! You mighta been able to aim your f***** Death Star Killer Ray at the aircraft plants in Wichita. But this is Philly! You couldn't even erect a "We're Soulless Capitalist Pigs" booth at the Philadelphia Convention Center without using union carpenters!

As for the Teamsters, they aren't clueless. They know that if a newspaper that has already shrunk by 3/4 staff-wise in the last 15 years loses half its remaining staff, THERE WON'T BE A NEWSPAPER TO DELIVER! They're protecting the product they load in their trucks!

You got money to burn, Canada? Set a match to it. Save yourselves aggravation.

Milk and Cheese have this to say to the newspaper reporters who might lose their jobs: FORM A NEW PAPER. Damn, there'll be 250 of you! And some keen local investors who know that EVERY UNION MEMBER IN THE CITY WILL READ YOUR PAPER INSTEAD OF ONEX'S.

Newspapers aren't aircraft parts plants, with a bunch of anonymous workers who take the shaft and go home and watch their chronically ill children die slowly.

Newspaper reporters are recognized personalities! Columnists especially, but all of them, really.

So Onex, you just send these award-winning writers out on their ears and see what happens. You'll have two competing newspapers with similar sized staffs. Which one will get Teamster delivery trucks?



Thank you, Evan Dorkin, for letting us rant in Anne's blog!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Faerie Festivals for Fine Folks #5: Sunday Sermon

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," your daily dose of downsized deities! We reject the One God and Only One God model, mainly because that god's praise and worship teams don't have a big, broad, flexible outlook.

Today we ask the question: Is it possible to find religion at a Faerie Festival?

Let's say you don't attend church, but you're interested in spiritual matters. You wander into a Faerie Festival to have a good time.

Most Faerie Festivals don't serve alcohol. This is a good thing. If you can be wild while sober, you rock. But this is an important point, because the sobriety lends a level of seriousness to the proceedings, if you want it to.

Take the Faerie Festival at Spoutwood Farm, Glen Rock PA, held every year on the weekend closest to May Day. This festival always includes at least one Celtic band. You can almost count on the lead singer having an Avalon accent. And these bands bring with them what I'll call That Old-Time Religion.

At last week's Faerie Festival, the band announced that it would soon be crowning the May Queen.

"Hey," I thought. "That's me! I'd better get over there!"

But of course I was the May Queen of LlynHydd Grove, not of Spoutwood Faerie Festival. Nevertheless, my surly tween daughter The Spare and I walked over to see the crowning of their queen.

What transpired was a druidic ceremony in which a crowd of at least 200 people paid homage to the Great Spirits of the Four Corners: Fire, Air, Water, and Earth. Just as in the service at LlynHydd Grove, this large group of people faced to each compass point and saluted that spirit. (Queen Brighid was the only one named, but Anne is sure the others weren't offended.) Each of the four tribes brought their ceremonial items to the stage as the prayers were completed.

For Anne this was a very special spiritual moment, despite the moody tween telling Anne not to be embarrassing.

Then the band led the crowd in a rowdy, ribald song, perfectly suitable for the revelry of May Day. (At LlynHydd Grove we sang "Here We Go Gathering Nuts in May," and we weren't referring to goober peas or lunatics, if you get my drift.)

The upshot of this is that a Celtic band quietly introduced the tenets of druidry, and its accompanying joyous spirit, to a bunch of folks who probably didn't even know they were participating in a religious ceremony. And some who did know.

As the One God model falls to the fanaticism of murderous zealots, privacy-invading bigots, deep-pocketed Masters of the Universe seeking to undermine public education, and the wretched excesses of pageantry, alternate ways of worship are growing. People are reaching back to the era before One God to find community and spiritual development.

So to answer Anne's question: Yes. It is possible to go to a Faerie Festival and, despite the best efforts of nasty Christian protesters, find a deep well of spirit and contentment.

Our operators are standing by to take your call.

One other note: My gentler readers might want to miss tomorrow's post. Anne needs to rant for the record on a personal matter. This rant will be so virulent that Anne has invited her nastiest companions, Milk and Cheese (Dairy Products Gone Bad). This super-steamed post will not become part of the permanent record of "The Gods Are Bored."

AREA 14, STAR 14

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Faerie Festivals for Fine Folks #4: The Flea Market Model

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Quickly becoming Faerie Central, thank you very much!

Introducing "Kitsune_no_Kamen," by the fabulous new artist, Seitou! Remember where you saw her faeries first. And don't forget not to lift them for your own use before contacting Anne!

Today's topic: Faerie Festivals and Flea Markets.

What could these two possibly have in common? People-watching! Of course it's far better at Faerie Festivals. You don't see many Flea Market folks dressed like this:

On the other hand, you can't buy six pairs of sox for five dollars at a Faerie Festival.

My daughters, The Heir and The Spare, like to go to this big flea market near our house on Saturday mornings. The Heir in particular is like a junkie looking for a fix when it comes to this ten-acre lake of asphalt. Today she went through six boxes full of McDonald's Happy Meal toys and pulled out one "find": a Noid. Remember the Domino's Pizza ads, "avoid the Noid?" You don't? No surprise.

Anyway, The Heir collects food product character figurines, but only when they're a bargain. She has enough California Raisins to mount a halftime band for University of Michigan football games. Most of them came from the flea market.

While Faerie Festivals have not yet reached their peak of popularity, the heyday of flea markets is over. Ebay has done them in. I can remember when the flea market we attend just overflowed with fabulous antiques, vintage plates and ceramics, new stuff too. But now vendors sell that dross on ebay. Doesn't leave much for the discerning bargain-hunter who likes to walk in the sunshine.

Oh well. Oh blah di, life goes on.

I was walking with my other daughter, The Spare, at the flea market this morning. We noticed a booth called "Prayer Station" with a few quiet, nice people standing behind it and modest stacks of literature on their table. In the next aisle, a group of similarly polite folks were giving away paperback Bibles.

Lovely teaching tool, that. The Spare and I both noted that these Christians are more likely to attract additions to their praise and worship teams than were those who told the Faerie Festival attendees that we are one and all going to hell.

Where I grew up, we had a good ol' saying for this.

"You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar."

Catching flies for the Bored Gods/Goddesses/Sacred Critters, I remain

Your faithful friend

Artwork by Seitou available exclusively from "The Gods Are Bored."

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Faerie Festivals for Fine Folks #3: Finding Neverland

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Here, oh yeah, we celebrate heroes, yeah!

To my newer readers: This site is dedicated to worship of the god or goddess you choose, in the way you choose to worship, so long as no one gets hurt and the furniture doesn't get stained.

Okay. Done with that.

You know how little kids get crushes on Disney characters and pretend to be that character, and won't answer to their own names, but only to the character's name? Follow me? Ever had a four-year-old that wouldn't come to dinner unless you said, "Jiminy Cricket! Please come get your vittles!"

Anne's hero of that sort was Peter Pan.

Never mind that Anne's a girl, and Peter Pan is a boy. Let's not get technical here. Suffice it to say that from age three until age six, Anne would not answer to any name but Pan. (Except in school, where in those days you could get a lickin' for pretending to be a flying, perpetually youthful spirit.)

Little did Toddler Annie know that Peter Pan is far more significant than just the insouciant flying bad boy of Barrie and Disney. He has been linked to The Green Man, and even -- if you read your Robert Anton Wilson -- to visits by extraterrestrials. He is, in short, a very important bored god staying active through creative packaging.

Anne's dad had an extremely happy boyhood, spending every summer in a remote Allegheny Mountain township where everyone was related to him and the swimming hole was always filled with his cousins. He loved his mom and pop, and they loved him. He adored his big brother and his sweet little brother, and they adored him. Not one cloud marred the horizon of his boyhood.

When Anne's dad became an adult, he married a chronically ill woman (Anne's mom). All but two years of the rest of his life was spent caring for Anne's mom. It was an enormous burden. She couldn't work. So the family was poor. She had to be hospitalized frequently. So the bills piled up. And her illness was of a nature that it completely disrupted normal family life, yet it left no visible physical signs.

Anne's dad hung in there. It was a hard knock life.

When Anne's dad reached his deathbed, he told Anne one day that he saw Peter Pan standing in the doorway of his room. Peter Pan was standing with his hands on his hips and his legs spread wide, just like in the movies.

Anne's old hero, the bored god of eternal youth, had come for another Lost Boy. Soon enough, Anne's dad became a wild pirate-hunter in Neverland.

The week after Anne's dad made this transition, Anne and her younger daughter went to the movies. The previews started running. And there, in all his gorgeous glory, was Johnny Depp in a new movie about Peter Pan!

Thank goodness the theater wasn't crowded, because Anne and her daughter both started crying.

To make a long post short, Anne has paid closer attention to Peter Pan than ever. She figured that he might be at the Faerie Festival at Spoutwood Farm. That's not a reach, folks.

And sure enough, Anne found him, and hugged him, and asked him to pose for a picture, and he was very, very kind!

We at "The Gods Are Bored" salute Peter Pan, excellent faerie eternal, and all the boys who are "following the leader, wherever he may go."

AREA 14, STAR 14

If Bird Flu Hits a Florida Trailer Park

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Sick humor and bad jokes since April, 2005!

We hear this morning of an isolated outbreak of bird flu in a Florida trailer park.


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Faerie Festivals for Fine Folks #2: A Feast for the Eyes

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" What do you suppose the bored gods do on a sunny Saturday afternoon? Gosh, let's look at their busy schedules. Wow! The Ancient Ones are free and clear to come to a Faerie Festival. How very lovely!

Okay, in the last post we talked about how to get into a Faerie Festival with your faith intact. It's very easy, really, because who doesn't want to have a little fun? I've read the Ten Commandments, and I don't recall seeing "Thou Shalt Never Have Fun."

Faerie Festivals are fun. And they can be spiritual too. We'll get to that in a future post.

One of the very best things about Faerie Festivals is the people-watching. Academy Award Preview? Pish, tosh! No gooey gowns by snooty designers can match all the vivid and lovingly home-created faerie wear you see at festivals. In fact, your average Renaissance Faire pales in comparison, because there you're stuck in one time period. Faeries aren't chained to the Renaissance. Witness Exhibit A:

Yeah, Geezer Annie ought to be way past snapping photos of perfect abs. Sorry. She isn't.

And then you get the fun-filled youngster who has an idea that probably started as an ugly bridesmaid dress. Witness Exhibit B:

Yep! Despite Anne's inability to take a decent picture, you might see that this sweet teen is the Tooth Faerie, complete with toothbrush, toothpaste, and money on her wings. Almost makes you long for the dental chair!

Anne is a sucker for a sweet face. Look at this Vision in Blue:

Last but certainly not least, caught these two pretty matching sprites with the Moss Man:

Next time I go to a Faerie Festival, I'm going to invite the Wandering Hillbilly. He takes great pictures, and I bet he and his wife could cut a rug in the drum circle.

We at "The Gods Are Bored" want to issue our own Commandment: "Thou shalt compliment faerie costumes with great animation." Remember, these folks spent hours thinking up and creating this stuff. Let them know they done good!

AREA 14, STAR 14

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Faerie Festivals for Fine Folks #1: Running the Gauntlet of Protesters

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Alas, alas! These two beautiful young sprites are on their way to hell!

No. Wait a minute. Let's talk about that.

Today we begin a new series, "Faerie Festivals for Fine Folks." Can't bring myself to use "Dummies" for this one. It was perfectly fine for cults and buzzard worship, but not for faerie festivals.

All parts of America have regularly played host to Celtic and Scottish festivals. Some of these are simple affairs, some lavish. Recently some of these traditional festivals have morphed into faerie festivals that celebrate the colorful and wonderful world of the fae.

Fourteen hundred years of Christianity in the British Isles has failed to oust faeries from their positions in the heart and mind of the folk. Faeries have never gone out of vogue because they exist. They celebrate both the intellectual and the imaginative in human beings. And they like lavish costumes too.

On the weekend of May 5-7, 2006, this intrepid reporter attended the annual Fairie Festival at Spoutwood Farm. Spoutwood Farm is near Glen Rock, PA. It is an organic farm that also hosts "Mother Earth" weekends and educational opportunities on nature issues.

I don't think the promoters of the Fairie Festival expected the massive crowds they got this year. Perfect weather sure helped. But people are just more interested in faeries than ever before. Know which American magazine is growing quickest in circulation? You've got it! Faerie Magazine, with its awesome spring issue containing a story by moi.

If you plan to attend a faerie festival, please be aware that certain Christians might see fit to berate you about it. They will stand near the admission line. And they're quite vocal. In case you can't hear them (you must be profoundly deaf for this to be the case), they hold up signs telling you that pagans are bound for hell.

We at "The Gods Are Bored" go on record as respecting the Constitutional right of these Christians to air their views in what might perhaps be a hostile setting.

But hey. If there's a crowd at a faerie festival, and you have to stand in line and take hateful abuse from a Christian who says that "May Day" is what pilots shout just before they crash and burn, you need to have some snappy comebacks.

1. To their assertion that pagans go to hell, reply:
"And your heaven is the alternative? Okay! I'll take hell."

2. To their assertion that you should love Jesus, reply:
"Gosh, I do love cheeses! Brie, Camebert, Gouda, Cheddar. What kind you got?"

3. To their assertion that "May Day" means you'll crash and burn, you reply:
"And you'll enjoy watching? What does that say about you?"

Now this last one might only have been used once at the Glen Rock faerie festival, because Anne and her faeries responded loudly after hearing it.

4. When they say choose Line 1 for pot and Line 2 for booze, you reply:
"Marijuana use is illegal! Are you slandering the law-abiding people in this line?"

Lastly but not leastly, you raise your arms and invoke All the Bored Gods to shower these silly protesters with love and peace, and for crying out loud don't let them play with matches! Someone might get burnt!

If all this fails, we at "The Gods Are Bored" advocate hiring adequate protection. As you can see, it worked for Anne.
AREA 14, STAR 14

Monday, May 08, 2006

Testing Testing 123

This is a test of "The Gods Are Bored" emergency faerie system. In the event of a real invasion of faeries, please stay tuned to "The Gods Are Bored."

Want to see what Anne's Faerie Festival pictures will look like.

Going to Hell Is So Much Fun!

Welcome, Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" This is an early picture of the fabulous Fairie Festival at Spoutwood Farm! Alas, now memory. It occurred this past weekend.

My goodness gracious, what a wonderful day. Who ever would have thought that one sky-blue weekend would follow another?

Awhile back I took a hike with my sister. She showed me her digital camera and explained how easy it was to use. Then she started pressing buttons like some NASA astronaut, and if what she wanted to do was show me how easy it was, the effect was the polar opposite. I felt I could never learn how to use that thing unless I got sent to hell with it and had all eternity to figure it out.

So we'll have to wait for the nice Kodak people to send us the floppy disk in order to see Anne's personal shots.

In the meantime, we're sure these gorgeous dudes won't mind posing, because they were there last Saturday and let Anne take their pics.

As soon as Anne's pictures return from Rite-Aid (NEVER Wal-Mart), we'll commence "Faerie Festivals for Dummies." Oh yes, another fabulous string of posts to give you all the ins and outs of attending faerie fetes! And this will be right in time for the "Midsummer Night's Dream" Faerie Ball in stunning, fabulous, and spiritually-centered Berkeley Springs.

Oh, and by the way. God Hates Pagans as much or more than He hates Fags. This was the message of the Christian protesters who loudly berated us as we waited in line to pay an admission fee. Tune in for our "Dummies" series to learn cheerful come-backs for these folks. I don't think they got any converts to their faith on Saturday, but they must have loved standing in the shade insulting people on such a beautiful day.

If I'm going to hell, will someone buy me a digital camera to take along?

AREA 14, STAR 14

Friday, May 05, 2006

See You There?

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," the site where we proudly display the original artwork of Seitou! Don't grab this faerie for your own use, because Seitou is young and needs college tuition. Email us and we'll work something out.


Festivities begin May 5 and run through Sunday.

Maypole, drum circles, performances, roving Green Man, poodles with wings, fairytales for the kiddies, vendors of all things faerie, come dressed as your favorite fae!

Ten thousand people attended the fairie festival last year. All right, so it's not the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, but it's a start.

If you attend, look for me on Saturday. I'll be wearing a silver skirt, white blouse, faeries Princess and Puck, and cowboy boots. Please say howdy! I'd love to meet you!

You can always mow the lawn on Monday.

AREA 14, STAR 14

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Long Live Rock

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!"

Everything is. Nothing is. Take your pick.

(Geezer Annie been listening to The Who again.)

This entry is pure navel-gazing, so toddle onto the next online contributor if you like. Anne figures this crazy blog will someday help her fill her days when they have more hours than they do now. So sometimes we have to be personal.

Okay, Geezer Anne, fix in your mind:

1. Beltane festival at LlynHydd Grove (already wrote about it, see sidebar for link).

2. Pizza and Poetry Nite, May 3, 2006!

How appropriate for Beltane! A celebration of the birth of two notable artists, Walt Whitman and Isadora Duncan. Love poems went flying around the room like beautiful jenny wrens. Seemed like everyone wanted to read, write, dance, love, love, love! (Bored Gods channeled.)

The Monkey Man (if you're new here you have no idea...) took off his jester hat and substituted one that would have made Whitman proud, then proceeded to recite from memory "Leaves of Grass" and "Song of Myself" with great dramatic flair. His Monkey, tie-dyed t-shirt as usual, was draped over a pint of whiskey that turned out to be for Isadora. She came floating in, all scarves, at the end. Then we all danced.

Oh, the Monkey Man, the Monkey Man! How he reminds me that the most important part of life isn't where you live or how much dough you make, but a complete immersion in that other-dimensional world of wonderful words, odd friends, and even odder puppets. How refreshing to see a true hippie who has never stopped walking the walk!

Pizza and Poetry Nite is held once a month in Camden, New Jersey. The pizza parlor is small and dingy, but it lights up like a flare when the Monkey Man comes in and sets up his pictures of the poets or artists being feted.

Coming and going from where you park your car is a matter of faith. Trust me on that. But if you don't take that leap, you die in your heart. So nuts to the danger, let's live a little!

I used to pay a learned professor at the University of Pennsylvania forty bucks a pop to be in a writing group. Monkey Man doesn't charge a penny, you can eat for free, it's goodwill offering and bring your own wine. And no one reads a poem and then sits down to a barrage of criticism. Is there any such thing as a bad poem anyway?

Twenty-five folks at this most recent Nite. The youngest, 2. The oldest, hmmm. No idea. In between, a cute 8-year-old who said a poem about connecting with the dad who wasn't around when she was little.

Cy was there. Weird poems. Way weird.

As I lumber down this weary road, I hope to follow the Monkey Man and realize that even if your hair turns gray you can just cover it up with a jester hat, raise your voice an octave or two, and leap over the puddles.

AREA 14, STAR 14

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

What Would Granny Do?

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Sorry about the green pollen on the porch rockers. Sit a spell anyway!

Well, Anne's no good at math, so let's just say this picture is our mutual Granny, circa 2 million years ago, give or take.

Okay, she's not much to look at. But I'll bet her mate thought she was all that, and her kids thrilled at the sight of her coming back to them with a Hostess Twinkie.

I've been thinking about Granny. (Yeah, I know, I know, Anne should never think!)

This is what I've been thinking.

Trainers can teach chimps sign language and sophisticated behavioral tricks. Sometimes the chimps become so good at signing that they make spontaneous sentences. (Famously, one chimp didn't like a certain scientist, and the chimp learned how to combine the word for "potty stuff" and "scientist," and that's what the chimp called the offending researcher. Time after time.)

Chimps are pretty smart. And they're even smarter in the wild, where they make tools, solve problems, nurture their youngsters, and protect their turf.

So where does that leave Granny?

What could we teach her? How much smarter was she than, say, a chimp? Could we teach her to sit at a table and eat tacos? To use a powder room? Sign language?

I doubt if we could get her to do our income taxes. But hey. This is Granny! We wouldn't ask that of Granny anyway!

I ponder this because I believe in evolution, and I wonder how far back we have been communicating with the bored gods. Doubt if Granny did much praying, but I bet by golly she mourned like crazy if a lion got her baby. Also bet she and the hubby did all they could to keep that lion from getting its meal.

So let's leap forward a million years to a critter we could certainly teach to hail a bus and stroll through the Strand bookstore. Think how bored the gods must be who served this gal! Most of our modern deities are a few thousand years old. (I think Queen Brighid the Bright goes back a lot farther, but she wears it well.) How long did bored gods last with these ancestors? Or did they have bored gods?

When did the whole god thing start?

And that's the wrong question by a country mile, because 99 percent of the most ancient Stone Age carvings are of women. That can't just be dumb luck on the part of archeologists. Had to have been a day when the Goddess ruled just as completely as old Father God does now.

So when did the goddess thing get underway?

Granny, if we give you another piece of crumb cake, will you tell us?


Budding Young Artists

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," your multi-purpose deity connection!

"It Takes A Family," right Rick Santorum? Well, if that's true here on terra firma, why wouldn't it be true in the Great Beyond?

Gosh, even Jesus needed a mama. And depending on what Gospel you read, she even gave him the essential kick-start.

A brief message today to celebrate the two budding artists featured on "The Gods Are Bored."

Cy, creator of "Eyeball Vulture," our website's logo, has placed two illustrations in publications in the last 30 days. Weird New Jersey features one of Cy's incomparable weird envelopes, the third Cy has placed in that magazine. (Cy is a good fit for Weird New Jersey.)

Cy also has an entire page in a newly-released book, Found II, edited by Davy Rothbart.

So let's give a big "Gods Are Bored" round of applause to Cy!

Seitou, whose lovely faerie is pictured below, has been invited to be an exhibitor at the Berkeley Springs Faerie Weekend next month. What an honor for someone so young! We will have to scramble to get her drawings framed in time for the show (if it's even possible), but if she misses this year, she'll no doubt have an even bigger exhibit next year!

So let's give a big "Gods Are Bored" round of applause to Seitou!

(Remember not to copy Cy and Seitou's works without prior permission of Chonganda, Grand Editor of "The Gods Are Bored," awesome deity of the Congo. Seriously, better send us an email.)

Very soon Cy and Seitou will finish production on their Web site, uniting two visual artists with completely different styles. We here at "The Gods Are Bored" will link Ay-Sap.

Thank you for visiting "The Gods Are Bored," and remember ... there's a god and/or goddess and/or sacred animal right at your fingertips all the time. Pantheons R Us!

"Eyeball Vulture" property of "The Gods Are Bored." Would you want to mess with Cy?

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

On Immigration

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" If you're a first-timer, hello hello! I don't know why you say goodbye, I say hello!

What are the two topics you never mention in polite company? Politics and religion. Well, that's what we talk about here. Politics and religion, not usually in that order.

Immigration. People sneaking across the border into America, braving waterless desert trying to find a job. Other people with heat sensors and walkie-talkies trying to keep them out. Not enough jobs for the folks already here! These dirty immigrants wind up on welfare, trying to have babies so the babies will be citizens.

Excuse me. Can we talk?

The problem with human beings is that they don't think geologically. This is because we're an insufficiently evolved species.

What human being is native to North America? A Sioux? An Inuit?

BAMP! Wrong!

Human beings evolved in Africa and spread out across the whole globe. So if you don't live in Africa, you are an immigrant. Every single person living in North America is an immigrant.

Wanna argue the point? Are you a sloth, a macaw, a raccoon? Are you an ear of corn? A belted kingfisher?

None of the above? Then you're not a Native American.

Native American Exhibit A

Whether the first humans arrived here 100,000 years ago or 30,000 years ago, we are all geologic newcomers to North America. And there's one commonality that we all share:

If we had been content where we were, we wouldn't have moved in.

Whether your ancestors came here in little wooden boats in 1720 (like mine), or crawled across the desert 10 years ago, they were running from something. Poverty, violence, religious or political oppression, the pesky sheriff who wanted to hang them. Take your pick.

I don't know how we'll find jobs for all these people. But then, back in the 1880s no one knew how we would find jobs for all those Irish running from the Potato Famine.

Recent immigrants will work for pennies on the dollar against unionized Americans? Well, then, somehow we'll have to organize these newcomers so they aren't scabs. Gosh, judging from yesterday, what would it take to get them activated?

I'm no politician. I've got no answers. But if you've ever tried to make a goat stay somewhere it doesn't want to be, you know how futile it is to argue the same point with a Homo sapiens.

My only suggestion: sensible family planning. Sorry, Pope Rat, but that's the only reasonable solution for our species.

Folks. Stop breeding. If you have a Heir and a Spare, stop breeding.

Give the real Native Americans a chance at survival. Extinction does not please the bored gods.


Monday, May 01, 2006

A Blessed Beltane To All!

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" So I guess you've heard of The Great I Am. How about The Great We Are? Frolic with the bored gods, they'll be so glad of the attention that you'll feel sunshine in your soul!

Today is Beltane, sacred holiday celebrating the abundant fruitfulness of the earth. Love is in the air! Don't believe me? You should see the pine pollen on my front porch.

Welcome to May, that maketh a man to love,
And girls in a ring, with those we're lovers of,
Make yourself lovely for love with roses in May!
Welcome the spring with wildwood banner gay!

Appropriate picture below, by the incomparable artist Seitou.