Friday, September 29, 2006

My Senators

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" We welcome your companionship. Please don't stain the furniture, otherwise ... anything goes!

Today we're talking Senators, and I don't mean the baseball team. Here I sit in New Jersey, gloating about the blueness of my elected officials. I would have figured them for escapees from that Beatles movie. Real Blue Meanies, opposing such niceties as torture and kangaroo courts.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

Democrats all, Lautenberg, Menendez, and Andrews voted FOR our Fearless Leader's expanded imperial powers. Andrews (surprise, surprise) never answered my email questioning his vote, although I was polite and thoughtful, bearing no resemblance to all the hateful Lefties that the Good Right American Christians want to oBLUEterate.

As for Menendez, the bum had my vote sewn up even though new corruption allegations spring up every day. But hey. Just like in Pennsylvania, New Jersey has two guys running for U.S. Senate who have almost identical political views. So guess what? I'm not voting for Menendez. Or Andrews.

If you would like your name to be written in on an official ballot in New Jersey's 2006 primary election, please contact "The Gods Are Bored" prior to election day.

If I don't hear from any of my legions of readers, I will vote for the Monkey Man to be Senator and myself for Congress.

Say, how does someone run for Congress, anyway? Do you know?


Thursday, September 28, 2006

Banned Books Week

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Do you love to read? We do! In celebration of Banned Books Week, we are offering for free a very good reading list below.

One of the books on that list is not a book but a series. Here's the hero, Captain Underpants.

We suppose you can gather from his image that Captain Underpants is featured in books for beginning readers, grades 2 through 4. It happened that he made his debut in literature when my youngest daughter, The Spare, was in third grade.

Together we devoured the entire canon of "Captain Underpants" books. They are uniformly hysterical. They celebrate the antics of two bad boys who are always getting in trouble, most notably by turning their ugly, mean school principal into a superhero named ... uhhh ... Captain Underpants.

Who the hell added "Captain Underpants" to the list of banned books? You give those books to a boy who'd rather study the moles on his stomach than read, and he's going to turn into a polymath. Talking toilets, lunch ladies from outer space, Professor Poopypants. For the love of cave crickets! We at "The Gods Are Bored" speak for ourselves and our resident faeries in declaring Dav Pilkey a genius of top order.

(And let's not forget his other classics, "Dogzilla" and "Kat Kong.")

We at "The Gods Are Bored" abhor the concept of banned books. If you're moron enough to want to read Protocols of the Elders of Zion you ought to be able to get it from a library. (They could file it in a special section called the Moron Shelf.) Granted, you might not want to give a Bret Easton Ellis tome to second graders, but hey. They've got Captain Underpants! Let 'em work up to Ellis and that perennial banned masterpiece, Huckleberry Finn, unquestionably the best novel written by an American.

With no further ado, we attach the American Library Association's list of books that have been banned the most from public and school libraries.

The American Library Association keeps an accounting of objectionable reads. We curled up with a good computer to check which forbidden pages still beckon readers and searchers.
"Harry Potter" (Series) (J.K. Rowling)
"To Kill a Mockingbird" (Harper Lee)
"The Color Purple" (Alice Walker)
"The Outsiders" (S.E. Hinton)
"Lord of the Flies" (William Golding)
"Of Mice and Men" (John Steinbeck)
"Goosebumps" (Series) (R.L. Stine)
"How to Eat Fried Worms" (Thomas Rockwell)
"The Catcher in the Rye" (J.D. Salinger)
"The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" (Mark Twain)
"The Giver" (Lois Lowry)
"Brave New World" (Aldous Huxley)
"The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" (Mark Twain)
"Captain Underpants" (Dav Pilkey)
"The Anarchist Cookbook" (William Powell)
"Carrie" (Stephen King)
"Flowers for Algernon" (Daniel Keyes)
"The Dead Zone" (Stephen King)
"I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" (Maya Angelou)
"Go Ask Alice" (anonymous)
"American Psycho" (Bret Easton Ellis)
"The Chocolate War" (Robert Cormier)
"James and the Giant Peach" (Roald Dahl)
"The Pigman" (Paul Zindel)
"A Wrinkle in Time" (Madeleine L'Engle)

We at "The Gods Are Bored" haven't read all of these books. We hear the Ellis offering is particularly loathsome. But who are we to say no one else can read it? If they aren't gonna ban Ann Coulter, they shouldn't ban one damned thing.

An addendum to yesterday's post: My Democratic Congressman was one of only 34 Dems who voted for Bush's detainee bill. He heard from me this morning, the bum. I may run against him in 2008. Send your campaign contributions to "The Gods Are Bored."

Captain Underpants Forever!


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Dr. Turnpike; Or, How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love New Jersey

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," truly and honestly produced daily in the state of New Jersey!

Yeah, yeah, yeah, sorry to burst the bubble of all youse who thought I lived in Berkeley Springs. I grew up near Berkeley Springs. Now I live in Jersey.

You gotta problem widdat?

If youse do, getta loada dis:

All youse bloggers from da Left are runnin out ta mail yer letters to yer senators about dis torture crap. And I'm wicha a hunnerd percent. Only I'm up $1.17 because I know sure as Bada Bing that my Jersey senators ain't gonna vote fer dat shit. And my Congressman would run nekked up the Turnpike before he went along widdat.

So we might have our problems here in Jersey, but sure as hell they don't include fedral lawmen wid imperial ambitions.

Now I godda go an close my windows, cuz there was a raw sewage spill in the pond cross the way and it's geddin ripe in here. And I ain't jokin bout dat.


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Keith: Just What the Doctor Ordered

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" If you don't think politics and religion should be discussed in polite company, then toddle on out of here and go to Starbucks. And as you sip that Mocha Chocolata Ya Ya with your pinky in the air, be advised that you're consuming the same number of calories in a Big Mac.

In 1979 my uncle (hereafter called Uncle X) lost his final job. He was 54 years old. For the next 8 years he lived off my grandparents, which was okay because he was there to help them out a lot of times when they were sick.

At 62 he got his Social Security, a couple hundred bucks a month. It wasn't enough to live on. So my dad and my other uncle let Uncle X live rent-free at the family farm. The free housing allowed Uncle X to live within his meager income. When something broke in the farmhouse, Uncle X's son fixed it. Uncle X kept the house looking spiffy, which to him meant ousting every last item that my grandmother had lovingly placed in it.

Uncle X's free housing has extended into the 21st century, as my generation decided we couldn't live with ourselves if we booted him.

I used to visit him frequently. (Hey, it's a 75 acre farm in Appalachia with fabulous views of two states.) Uncle X and I always got along swell.

And then came Rush.

Lonely and depressed, Uncle X turned to his radio for solace. The only channel he could pull in out in the mountains was a talk station liberally laced with Rush.

Uncle X spoke Rush's name like some people say "Jesus." Overnight my good ol' drinking companion became a rabid conservative. And all he would talk about was politics. You couldn't stop him.

And it was hard to stomach, reader. Here was a guy living solely on a government subsidy, saying that the rich got taxed too much. For the love of fruit flies. If it weren't for that free rent (and I forgot to add that he couldn't drive, so the far-flung neighbors drove him into town), he'd have needed SSI and Medicaid, just to live like a pauper.

It's been years now, years, since I started praying that liberals would find a dynamic, convincing, principled opponent to Rush Limbaugh. Ah, at last. Answered prayers. Too late for Uncle X, but just in time for me.

Go ahead. Call me a Keith Olbermann Dittohead. I'll admire that man even if it's revealed that he's addicted to opiates and spends his vacation time soliciting prostitutes in the Dominican Republic.

I don't visit Uncle X anymore. My fundie sister is going to see him next week. That should be a good fit.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Jesus Camp Part One

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Do you think of God as remote and judgmental, ready to swoop down and make you blind if you indulge in impure thoughts? We've got plenty of gods and goddesses here who would overlook that sort of thing, so long as no one got hurt and the furniture didn't get stained.

Readers, I've done the unthinkable. For four years I've fostered homeless kittens and bid farewell to each and every one of them. Until now. Chateau Johnson is welcoming Cat Number Three. Which, if I recall my Greek properly, makes him Gamma.

You'd have to be made of stone to resist this cat.

Today's topic: Jesus Camp.

I saw on the news the other day that a pair of filmmakers have made a documentary called Jesus Camp. It's about a camp for kids run by adults brimming to the plimsol line with good intentions. (See my interview with Satan, few posts back, to find out where that gets you.)

The young campers, who look to be about age 7-9, are strongly encouraged to be born again and to pledge to fight their whole lives to make this Christian nation bend its knees to Jesus. Apparently, warfare metaphors abound. The good tots, from (one presumes) strict Christian homes, soak up the gist and gird their little loins.

We in the Alternative Forms of Worship community might have reason to be afraid, very very afraid, of the images of tender youngsters being inculcated with such philosophy. Never mind that it bears absolutely no resemblance to the Jesus portrayed in their Book. Some very well-intentioned adults are brainwashing little kids to be Christian Soldiers, Marching as to War.

Don't apply for that Swiss citizenship yet, Wiccans. Can you believe it? When I was that age, I went to Jesus Camp. Seriously.

My best friend belonged to the local Assembly of God, then as now one of the more virulent Pentecostal sects. One summer when I was about 8 I went with her to Bible School. It was fine for the first 8 out of 10 days, if you don't count the fact that we marched in singing "Onward Christian Soldiers." Then it got way weird. The leaders started strong-arming us, speaking loudly and forcefully about Jesus's suffering for our sins. On the final night they told us to kneel and put our heads on the floor so we could be born again. Refusing this offer, as I recall, was not an option.

I remember crouching there on the floor, waiting for the well-intentioned Bible School teacher to born me again. And I remember thinking, "This is some crazy lunacy, but I'll go along with it, I don't want to make waves."

Yes, I knew the meaning of the word "lunacy" at age 8. Next month you'll find out why.

So some gray-haired lady prayed fervently over me, and I said yes, I'll take Jesus, and I was born again. Another Model C rolling down the Assembly of God line.

Now get this. About a week after Bible School ended, the two Bible School teachers showed up at my house. My dad wasn't home. My mom let the ladies in. The ladies told her how much they loved me, what a sweet little girl I was, did I go to church? And my mom said yes, First Christian. And they said, well, that's a fine church we're sure, but is it firm on doctrine? Because (Friend X)'s family offered to take me to church with her at the Assembly of God every Sunday! What a fabulous offer! Then they prayed with my mom to help her decide.

If Dad had been home he'd have politely but emphatically shown them the door. Not that he didn't go to church every Sunday. He just didn't buy the total package, only bits and pieces.

But Mom was always in favor of instilling discipline of all kinds, so she dispatched me to the Assembly of God every Sunday. Over Dad's objections.

I lasted about 9 months, during which I heard and saw some of the most bizarre behavior the Faulknerian South can dole out. At the end of 9 months I concluded that these people were unacceptable as role models. I told Dad about the ladies convulsing in the aisles, could I possibly return to First Christian? He said absolutely. And that was that.

My guess is that, in any crowd of kids, there are going to be some that buy the total package, some that pick and choose, some who buy it and then lose it later, and some who just play along to make Mommy happy.

The fire and brimstone tactics certainly backfired in my case, although I didn't exit the mainstream Christian fold for many years thereafter. The point is, Jesus Campers probably follow the normal bell curve, while the rest of the nation looks on, bewildered.

If you're old enough to remember burning all your Beatles stuff because John said they were more famous than God, you'll know what I mean.


Friday, September 22, 2006

Dark Moon Meditation

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored" on this, the dark moon of the autumn equinox .

In a world gone mad, where people professing to work for God do injustice and spread violence, we advocate exiting the Interstate Highway and returning to the weedy track through the dense forest. Be an outcast, be a rebel, not by searching for the new but by returning to The Old.


O Merlin in your crystal cave
Deep in the diamond of the day,
Will there ever be a singer
Whose music will smooth away
The furrow drawn by Adam's finger
Across the meadow and the wave?
Or a runner who'll outrun
Man's long shadow driving on,
Burst through the gates of history
And hang the apple on the tree?
Will your sorcery ever show
The sleeping bride shut in her bower,
The day wreathed in its mound of snow,
And Time locked in his tower?

--Edwin Muir

"Rebel," by Seitou, to be republished only with permission of "The Gods Are Bored."

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Establishing Identity

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Who says you don't talk about politics and religion in polite company? It's fine in polite company. It's those rude people you want to avoid. Take them bowling instead.

Today I ... oh my. Do I smell sulphur? Impossible! I'm not at the United Nations! I'm at home, judging the toughest herd of goats I've ever seen for the cheapest price I've ever offered. But there's no denying that odor...

Oooops! There go the foster kittens. They're scattering for the nearest dark corner. That can only mean one thing. Great Satan on the premises. And my goodness, look at him. All done up in his Jabberwock-inspired formal attire.

Anne: Follow my finger, Satan. There's the door. Out.

Applegate: Please don't call me Satan. The name is so freighted with baggage. I prefer...

Anne: I know. "Mr. Applegate." No baggage on that one except a pleasant Broadway play.

Applegate: Exactly.

Anne: Not that I care, but why the scary suit? I know you don't like it.

Applegate: Board of directors meeting at Headquarters.

Anne: Oh, what's the topic? Time for Rapture?

Applegate: I have no idea. That's a closely-guarded secret. Word of Rapture date gets out, you'll find all these non-believers lining up to convert. We in the business call it "insider trading in eternity futures." My guess is the CEO just wants divisional reports.

Anne: While we have you here (and hoping you leave shortly), can you clear up something for me? Yesterday the president of Venezuela called George W. Bush "Satan" and said he could still smell the sulphur from the podium.

Applegate: I heard that speech. I thought the sulphur reference was inspired.

Anne: So, is it true? Is George W. Bush really Satan?

Applegate: Excuse me? What am I, chopped liver? George W. Bush isn't ... me. In fact, if you get right down to it, he has good intentions.

Anne: Get outta here. Good intentions?

Applegate: Well, you know what they say about good intentions.

Anne: The road to Hell is paved with them. So, are we to infer that George W. Bush may sometime find himself playing Cool Hand Luke on some freeway to the River of Fire?

Applegate: I make no predictions on anyone's fate. It's up to our very busy CEO, who hears a great deal of praiseworthy praying on Mr. Bush's behalf.

Anne: So there may be a halo and a harp in Dubya's future?

Applegate: Providing he can shove an extra-fat camel through the eye of a needle.

Anne: You've seen his personal camel?

Applegate: Yep. It's failed Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, L.A. Weight Loss, and Atkins.

Anne: A bit of a portly camel, eh?

Applegate: And getting bigger every day. It's fond of roasted marshmallows. We have bags and bags of them in the satellite office.

Anne: I daresay. One last question. Where were your Four Horsemen last weekend when Michigan was playing Notre Dame? Didn't they used to help the Irish?

Applegate: That's so last century. When last I saw them, the Four Horsemen were trying to teach their mounts the cute tricks they saw performed at Land of Little Horses.

Anne: I suspect they're bored to tears, waiting for Rapture. Sorry, they get no sympathy from me. There are gods and goddesses out there who've taught horses to sing the entire Wagner canon. Don't tell me about boredom.

Applegate: I'd better be going. I don't want to be late for the meeting.

Anne: Give my regards to Broadway, remember me to Herald Square. And don't let the door hit your tail on the way out. And don't even think about taking any kittens.

Applegate: See you soon.

Anne: Not a chance. I've got my celestial insurance from another carrier.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Puck and the Plague

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Think of us as an island of downsized deities in a sea of Rapturous Righties.

We love faeries. Sometimes.

A very feisty faerie named Puck lives here with me. I've had trouble with this pesky guy before.

Exhibit A: Puck the Faerie

Over the weekend, Puck was at his level worst.

Mr. Johnson planned to meet a friend in town for a posh nosh. I wanted to go, because this friend is a super-famous sportswriter (and also an old friend of Mr. Johnson's late, great dad). I hadn't been feeling well all day, but I mustered my strength and got dressed to go.

I had to dress fancy. That's always a challenge when you buy your duds at a thrift store. But I pulled out a half-decent burgundy blazer.

Do not infer from this that my politics are Red.

Puck lives in a glass faerie ball with blue, green, and burgundy highlights. He's very striking. But in order for him to be seen above my blazer, I had to take him off his boy necklace chain and put him on a delicate silver (and very feminine) necklace chain. I warned him not to fuss about it, that all the talk at dinner would be about sports. But the writing was on the wall. On my first attempt to chain him in dainty silver, he fell on the floor. Then when I affixed the necklace to my neck, he was facing backwards and remained that way the whole evening.
Woe betide she who angers a faerie! As Mr. Johnson and I drove into the city, I started feeling sicker and sicker and sicker. It turned out that I had to excuse myself from the table three times before the main course was served. I couldn't touch my entree. Finally, the rebellious Puck and I had to seek the cooler confines of the lobby.

Mr. Johnson cut the evening short, and I know that disappointed him greatly. He didn't say anything mean about it. But I wanted to cry.

Saturday I was so sick I could hardly stagger to the couch to watch Michigan football. (I'm glad I made it.)

About 4:00 that afternoon I remembered that Puck was still hanging on the girlie chain. After the football game, I restored him to his normal chain.

Two hours later I found my precious kitchen scissors (literally missing for months) just sitting out in the open on a shelf. And on Sunday I felt well enough to go to the community book sale, where I found a perfectly battered old copy of The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart. It's a classic and I've wanted my own copy for a long time but was unwilling to pay retail. So I got it for a buck. It was lying under the fiction table in a box piled high with other novels. My eyes fell right on it -- and it had no cover.

Would you say Puck made amends?

The point of this true story: Faeries are pistols. If you live with them you know what I mean.

Art by Seitou exclusive to "The Gods Are Bored." Do not reprint without permission.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Perhaps It's a Good Thing

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," a faerie nice destination for sustainable spiritual search! We greet you today in honor of Danu and Bile, and Queen Brighid the Bright, keeper of home and hearth.

Sometimes when I've contemplated the world's great and fabulous cathedrals, I've wondered who paid Jesus's bills. We all know he preached outdoors (we heartily endorse this practice). At best he might have spoken in some modest synagogues. But even the biggest Bible moron knows that when he went to the fancy Temple in Jerusalem he more or less freaked.

Here was a guy and twelve of his closest friends. Thirteen men needing three hots and a cot every day for three years. I'm a goat judge, not a mathematician, but that adds up to 1095 days. I don't know if they had leap years then.

Who picked up the tab? Was Jesus like Salieri, with a rich patron, or was he like Mozart, scraping together the rent month to month?

The Bible is strangely silent on this issue.

I bring it to your attention because my Druid Grove had planned to meet this weekend in celebration of equinox, and our leader can't come. He was once an Episcopal priest with a living wage and benefits, but the Anglicans gave him the heave-ho, and even without twelve hungry men in his wake, he can't make it as a Druid.

To be brutally frank, I'd rather hold out for worship in the forest on a shoestring with a leader who wants to be there but can't because he's now freelance and needs to make ends meet. It has been thus with the Druids, I feel, since the Christian occupation of their lands. And it was probably thus with Jesus, or at least his early followers, back in the day.

Religion plus harsh reality equals authentic correspondence with the gods. Remember that this fall when you settle into your pew for the annual round of stewardship sermons.


Friday, September 15, 2006

A Quick Tag

I got tagged to explain how I met my soul mate. It's been so long ago I can hardly remember. I was sitting on the side of Polish Mountain and he flew over on a current of air without flapping his wings. My heart beat so fast I thought I was going to die. Which would have been fine with him. Here he is:

I've been happily married for 22 years (not to my soul mate, obviously). I'm fortunate to have a husband who tolerates quirky behavior.

Exhibit A: Quirky Behavior

If you see my soul mate, throw him some road kill. For me.

Patrick Stewart, Patriot

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" It's so easy to worship by the One God Model. Why, just think about what a snap it is for your kids to pick out a headstone for your grave! "Yeah, that one with the cross will be great." Or, "Please put a Star of David on the memorial." Zip zip zip. Done!

Patrick Stewart's widow didn't have such an easy time as that. Pfc. Stewart, killed in the U.S. Invasion of Iraq, worshipped the bored gods. To whit, he was a Wiccan. His widow had to fight red tape for a year to get the Pentagram, holy symbol of the Wiccan faith, placed on his memorial in a Nevada national cemetery. She has finally won. The symbol will be affixed.

All hail patriot Patrick Stewart and the faith he followed to his untimely death! And blessed be a country that recognizes freedom of religion and separation of church and state as fundamental building blocks for a healthy republic!

To read more about this deserving hero, consult Hecate. In fact, to read more about a lot of important things, go see Hecate.

Yesterday I entered into a wager on the outcome of the University of Maryland-University of West Virginia football contest. if Maryland lost, I had to say something nice about George W. Bush. You can read my assessment of Fearless Leader here.

After I posted my kind remarks about the president, I found a fabulous new post at R U Rapture Ready, a blog that the bored gods will not let me link to directly. We at "The Gods Are Bored" strive to bring you laughter every day, but we'd be hard pressed to outdo the stunning Mr. Alberto Trippe. He's making the case for being Left Behind pretty much airtight.

AREA 14, STAR 14

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Worst Bet I Ever Made

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Do you know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, and know when to run? Then help us out here! Why do we make stupid bets on football games?

Make no mistake about it. Football is a brute sport. So many sports are brutal, when you get right down to it. If you want a touchy-feely competitive sport, you pretty much have to opt for curling or synchronized swimming. Otherwise, someone on an opposing team's gonna want to kick your butt. Or you're gonna risk your neck doing some wacky vault or dive, or running till you keel.

And what does it say about us that we like to sit and watch while padded people pummel each other purposefully? Truthfully I find my addiction to American football to be my biggest failing as a human being.

At least I don't bet on games. Oh well, there was one time when I had to send my cousin in Cleveland a box of Tastykakes because Ohio State beat Michigan. Other than that, I've never been much of a gambler. If I go into a convenience store, it's for a Coke, not a lottery ticket.

But now I'm in over my head. Alas! Fellow blogger Kayak Dave has talked me into a high-stakes wager on tonight's University of Maryland/University of West Virginia football game.

If Maryland wins, I'm safe and secure.

If they lose, I have to say something nice about Bush.

Oh, I must have faith in the fighting Terrapins! Nothing's faster or fiercer than a little, dimond-shelled tortoise, after all!

Strike up the band! It's time for the Maryland State Anthem!

(Some words traditional, some altered by Puck the Faerie)

The despot's heel is on thy shore
Maryland, my Maryland.
He's scorched Iraqis by the score
Maryland, my Maryland.
Avenge the patriotic Gore
Who would have kept us out of war
And show George Bush the exit door
Maryland my Maryland!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" If you've ever had to wait 8 months for an appointment with the doctor of your choice, you know that some gods, like some doctors, are too damn busy to return your call. A bored god or goddess will take special interest in your case. And they won't ask if you have insurance.

So what is this word: Islamofascist? We here at "The Gods Are Bored" take a great interest in words.

Some people will tell you that Islam promotes fascism if you read its holy scriptures. Other people will say the same thing about the Bible: that if you follow it to the letter, you're gonna fling some stones while alive and watch folks fry (from a safe distance) after you croak.

Well, see, here's the problem. Islam and Christianity (and Judaism too) all have books. Someone writes something down, someone else calls it the Revealed Word of God, and next thing you know, someone's gonna come along and use the words to justify flying planes into buildings. Or bombing abortion clinics.

But let's not throw the baby out with the bath water here. We at "The Gods Are Bored" submit that the One God Model produces an overworked deity. This deity can't take the time to teach all of his praise and worship teams civilized behavior. He trusts they'll read the books and make sound decisions.

Most do. A few don't. Books are like that. It's all in the way you read them.

The ancient Celts, from whom spring the practices that today are called Paganism, Wicca, and Druidism, did not write books. It's not that they weren't smart. They just preferred oral transmission of information. Some Druids spent 20 years memorizing. You can't do that if you're stupid.

The beauty of this model is that it's fluid. It can morph. It doesn't carve anything into stone. It offers opportunities for local, national, and regional deities. It also invites open minds about other peoples' deities, because hey. The new dude's goddess might be a sister or a cousin of your goddess.

You'd be surprised how often that happens.

This is why it's hard for me to picture a Pagan of any stripe feeling so disgruntled against some other group of folks that he or she would choose to engage in suicide/murder, pulling down as many other folks as possible.

I'm not counting these Doomsday cults like Waco as Pagans.

So you've read that Druids practiced human sacrifice and all that sick stuff? Yeah. Those reports came from the pens of the Romans, who spent their weekends cheering in arenas while watching wild beasts pull people apart and eat them.

I'm not qualified to speak for every polytheist on the planet, but by and large I think I can say that we haven't produced any suicide bombers in at least a millennia. We might have been compelled to defend ourselves that way in the past, but by golly, we've morphed.

So next time you see the word "fascist" tucked onto the back of some big One God praise and worship team, think first that it's unfair to blow up a whole barge of apples because one or two are rotten. And then think that perhaps you could choose a religion that no one would think to call "fascist."

Pagan fascists? Not on the religious radar. Not now, hopefully never.

So might it be.


Monday, September 11, 2006

Dear Abby

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?

Lest you think us callous here at "The Gods Are Bored," we did say a prayer to the bored gods for all the victims of 9/11. And the estimated 42,000 people who will die in traffic accidents this year. And the African slaves beaten to death by their masters in the antibellum South. And our precious and favorite uncle, Dr. Richard Johnson, who died of melanoma at 53. We live and die with tragedy, make every day count.

And so, on we go, laughing through the Apocalypse.

Today's topic: The new girl on Sesame Street.

For years some people have complained that Sesame Street, America's premiere show for precocious tots, was too laden with male characters. High time to level the playing field, eh? Bring on the girls!

So the folks who bring you Sesame Street created a new character. Her name is Abby Cadabby.

Gasp! She wears a tutu, faerie wings, and she carries a magic wand that she's slowly learning how to use - with a few setbacks and misfires.

Well, you just can't please everyone. Now some other folks are complaining that Abby is setting a bad example for little girls. Surely impressionable tots are going to grow up devoted to wearing haute couture and -- oh no! -- going pagan.

Nonsense! Cries the voice of reason. Almost every little girl goes through a phase where she dresses up frilly like a faerie. They outgrow it. Emmmmm. That is until Senior Prom, when they dump $500 on a gooey gown. And marriage, when they dump six times that much on an even more gooey gown.

How did these practices get under way without Abby's evil influence?

As for Abby's creating a future generation of wand-wielding pagans, I suppose it could be done.

Nonsense! Cries the voice of reason. A muppet with a wand won't penetrate the prevailing cultural values of the United States of Amerika.

Wait a minute. Hold the phone.

My daughter The Heir was devoted to Sesame Street as a tot. She especially liked Cookie Monster.

What a sinister effect that Blue Menace has wrought on The Heir's life! She enjoys the occasional cookie and she eats with her fingers (even spaghetti). Now an upperclassman in high school, she serves as the team mascot for the Snobsville, NJ Fighting Wombats. She swaths herself in fur from head to toe and proudly struts her stuff at every home game.

Exhibit A: Snobsville Fighting Wombats Mascot, at left,

The Heir's dad and I hoped that these Cookie Monster-inspired antics might be just a passing phase. Surely The Heir would grow out of it and opt for the $500 prom gown. But zounds! She's talking about auditioning for the Philly Phanatic! Her life has been ruined - by Cookie Monster.

So watch out, Amerika! Those little girls are gonna be smitten with Abby. And when little girls get bigger (every day, thank heaven), they're gonna want real wands and workable everyday magick.

Will that be such a bad thing?


Sunday, September 10, 2006


Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored." Today we recall September 11, 2001.

On that morning, at 9:00, Mr. Johnson called me on the telephone and said, "Turn on your t.v. set." At that time I had been writing television spots, so I had a t.v. on my work desk. I turned it on. I was flabbergasted.

After watching in horror for about 3 hours, I thought to myself, "Whoever did this isn't going to keep me from doing my work today." I went back to work.

On this anniversary I'll be going to work as well. Outside my home, as a substitute teacher, for about 1/3 the wage I earned on 9/11/01.

Both of my parents were still alive on that morning. My father-in-law was still alive. Mom died in November of 2001. Mr Johnson's dad died in the early summer of 2002. My dad died in 2004.

On 9/11/01, my oldest daughter was in 7th grade and my youngest in 2nd. We went to church every Sunday.

My youngest daughter's school teacher was called out of class because her daughter was scheduled to be on one of the fatal flights. At the last minute her daughter changed her reservation to a later flight.

One of my daughter's friends lost an uncle in the attack. He had gone to the WTC to give a presentation. He'd never been there before and was nervous that he would pick the wrong tower. He had time to make a cell phone call to his wife before he died.

A local search-and-rescue dog and its owner were asked to come help find survivors. The dog didn't find any. It developed respiratory failure and died about 18 months later.

The president says we're safer now than we were then, but still not safe. If you have Scottish blood in your veins, you know that "safety" is a chimera, that we are never safe, that our leaders will turn on us and our enemies attack as they please. If you are of Scottish descent living in Appalachia, you know that your fellow Americans think you crude and ignorant, and wantonly violent. You are prone to overreacting because safety is a chimera, and you have to be prepared.

Exhibit A: Pictish Warriors, c. AD 600

Queen Brighid the Bright teaches us to protect our homes and hearths. Today we trust the federal government to do that. Have they secured our homes and hearths by invading a foreign nation that had nothing to do with the atrocity on 9/11? I rather think, or should I say my deep Scottish blood tells me, that more people hate American now than ever.

Blessings of the bored gods upon the victims of the Federal Building in Oklahoma, the World Trade Centers, and the Pentagon, as well as those on the planes and the rescue teams.


Saturday, September 09, 2006

ABC: Always Bad Creatures?

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" If you miss the original episodes of Star Trek, pull up a chair. We're just about to eat. That's a shoofly pie at your elbow. Help yourself!

Today we at "The Gods Are Bored" are helping to get out the word that the Amerikan Broadcasting Company (hereafter known as ABC) will be airing a "docu-drama" this week called "The Path to 9/11."

Several bored gods that we respect have previewed the programming, and they say it's riddled with factual errors of a most deceitful sort. Chonganda, awesome bored god of the ancient Congolese people, called it "despicable lies" and expressed concerns for our country's future if television can portray fiction as fact. Queen Brighid the Bright likewise condemned the show as "yet another sly fireball from the people who are scorching the earth."

(I didn't know the Goddess liked the Moody Blues.)

Several bored gods enjoyed the show and said Bill Clinton had it coming. Those would be: Zeus, Mithras, Mars, and the Valkyries.

We at "The Gods Are Bored" encourage you to change your viewing habits to exclude ABC, as it seems to have changed its mission from purveyor of entertainment to Media Manipulator of Marginal Minds.

And, if you have school-age kids, add this to your short list: Boycott Scholastic, Inc. products. Scholastic actually created educational materials to enhance this show's credibility.

Instead of watching "Path to 9/11," why don't you go out into a green space and say a peace prayer to the bored god or goddess of your choice?

If you worship Mithras, by all means belly up to that tube, click on ABC, and stuff your gut with cheese fries. You'll get no shoofly pie from us.


Friday, September 08, 2006

CBS: Could Be Stupider?

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" If you've ever spent 4 hours fighting with a 12-year-old over doing 35 minutes of homework, you've found a friend in me!

Today's topic: The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric.

Today's decision: Dump the entire enterprise into a contractor-sized garbage bag and biff it off to the landfill. Attach a sign that says "BUZZARDS BEWARE."

Let's do a little bullet list, shall we?

1. CBS doctors pictures of Katie, taking her down two dress sizes. I'll bet they never did that to Walter Cronkite.

2. On her first night, Katie breaks the big story: Pictures of Suri Cruise! You gotta be bloody kidding me, right? That's news? In a nation of more than 260 million people, the best we can do in 23 minutes is look at a movie star's baby?

3. Second night, more serious vein. Katie interviews President Bush! Wow! For those of you who missed it, it went something like this:

Katie: Gosh, Mr. President, you sure are handsome and physically fit.

Dubya: Thank you, Ms. Couric. I like to go biking.

Katie: Tell us more about the great job you're doing fighting terror, Mr. President.

Dubya: Am I doing a great job ...??? Oh yeah! I'm doing a great job fighting terror.

Katie: You sure are, Mr. President Sir.

(After all those years of interviewing movie stars for the Today Show, you'd think she'd know enough to ask about his marriage.)

4. Third night, and Final Viewing for Anne: Katie inaugurates a new segment, "Point of View!" Wow! Another new way to fill that humongous 23 minute newscast! CBS turns the microphone over to a well-groomed Rush Limbaugh, who -- to no one's surprise -- impugns the patriotism of anyone who doesn't believe Osama just invaded Poland with six Panzer divisions, 2400 tanks, and 1800 fighter jets.


That's the sound of Anne turning off her television.

Actually, let's edit that.


That's the sound of Anne switching to the real news, provided by a round-robin of male and female anchorpeople at BBC WORLD NEWS TONIGHT.

If I want political opinion, be it Rush or Kos, I know where to find it. I don't need to hear it in the nightly NEWS.

If I want to support a female anchorwoman, I want her to look real. If she's a size 14, don't bloody crop her into a 10.

If I want to see pictures of Suri Cruise ... well hell. I just don't want to see pictures of Suri Cruise. Gotta fill some time on air? Close your eyes, point at the globe, and chances are there's something newsworthy happening at that place at this moment.

CBS, you were limping when you threw Rush at me. Then you just keeled. It's hard to commit suicide with fistfuls of fluff. But you managed.


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Dumb Design. Really Dumb Design.

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" We never cease to marvel at the Intelligent Design of the Universe. At least from the point of view of the cockroach.

I've been reading a special edition of Scientific American magazine on human evolution. Sort of catching up on the advances in the field since I was an undergrad at Billy Bob Agricultural University (BBAU).

Okay, this is not the place for a crash course on human evolution. Suffice it to say that we at "The Gods Are Bored" don't believe some bearded white dude with nothing better to do created all of this in six days.

What I find most interesting is the dating of Homo sapiens. That's us, folks. The latest figures put us into play around 200,000 years ago, with things breaking big culture-wise about 100,000 years ago.

Let's do the math. Let's assume for the sake of argument that, on average, Homo sapiens has produced a new generation six times each century. That's 33,333 generations in 200,000 years. 16,666 in 100,000 years (Oooooooo! Any importance to that 666????)

Now think of your favorite ballpark. How many seats does it have? I'm partial to the University of Michigan football stadium. 16,666 fans would fill less than 20 percent of the seats.

What a fine contribution to old Planet Earth we've turned out to be! In less than 17,000 generations, we've disastrously overpopulated, turned on each other with ever more sophisticated weapons, and now we're clobbering the global climate.

Gosh. At this rate we could annihilate ourselves in a miniscule geologic eyeblink. Can we possibly be the apex of Intelligent Design?

You see, this is why I don't worry about global warming. A species that can bring deterioration to a planet in a mere 17,000 generations is gonna pass quicker than that subliminal message for Pepsi in the movie frame. We may take truckloads of species with us when we go, but hey. Gaia has rebounded from worse.

Yes, I love my kids and I don't want to see them fry in a global greenhouse. But let's face facts. Humans are a dumb design, a glitch in the software. If you've ever seen a cockroach frozen in solid amber, you get the feeling that they've got it licked, and we're just plain doomed.

Have a great day!


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

United We Bargain, Divided We Beg

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where today we will entertain you with snapshots from the 2006 Philadelphia Labor Day parade and family festival!

Everyone pictured here was told they'd be featured on a pro-labor blog.
These folks didn't mind at all.

Every local had its own colors.

These two ladies represented the Stagecrew Union.

My daughter didn't know what to make
of these union organizers.

She was happier with Dad's co-workers.

Think these gals will wanna work for Wal-Mart?

American Patriots for Organized Labor.

Prettiest Longshoreman

Prettiest in Parade

Isn't it funny how many American flags you see in these pictures? Amazingly, union members don't see themselves as disruptive, criminal, anti-American leftist communists.

I'll bet they even say their prayers.


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Labor Day 2006: A Family Values Thing

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" You're just in time for our awesome Labor Day Awareness Series! Brought to you by Organized Labor - the folks who invented the weekend.

But isn't this a theology site? Well, here's our two-pronged mission:

1. We recognize that many gods and goddesses have been downsized and laid off by The Man (Celestial), so we support those gods and goddesses.

2. We recognize that humans can also be downsized and laid off by The Man (Temporal), so we support Organized Labor and women's rights.

Got that?

Last year, a leading moron named Rick Santorum published a book called It Takes a Family. I didn't read the book myself, but the gist is that you need to spend time with your kids and teach them values.

Okay, I actually don't have a problem with that.

Yesterday I took my daughters, The Heir and The Spare to Philadelphia's annual Labor Day parade. We marched with Mr. Johnson's union. We got matching t-shirts. We got to hear rousing pro-labor speeches.

This seemed to have a particularly profound impact on The Heir, who is 17 and will be a registered voter this time next year.

There were 12,000 union workers at the parade, all marching with their locals, all in matching t-shirts. Over the next few days, we'll be posting Kodak moments so you can see them.

If you had interviewed every man, woman, and child in the 15-block march, I doubt if you would have found a single one willing to vote for Rick Santorum.

Are you hearing me, Rick? Some families don't value you and are teaching their children not to value your political party. I'm one of them, and I thank you for encouraging me to instill Blue values in my kids.

And, by the way, Rick: If that really was you that my husband's co-worker saw at the edge of the Steelworker's headquarters, in your phony blue denim workshirt and jean jacket, I can only say that you were a wise man not to seek to speak from the podium.

And second, if it was you, what the heck? It was Labor Day! Shouldn't you have been home having a picnic with your wife and kids? Where are your family values?

Monday, September 04, 2006

Labor Day

Welcome to "The Faeries Are Bored!" I'm your host, Princess. And this is the first time I've ever been able to sneak in and boast post.

If you don't know me, I'm Puck's partner in crime. But Anne didn't bring either of us with her today. She and her daughters took off for Philly this morning at 8:15 and they're still not back. She didn't tell Puck and me where she was going, and that has us ticked. So we spilled powdered sugar all over the kitchen and rubbed it in the curtains. Another day, another prank.

So today it's all about me. Am I not the most beautiful faerie of all time? How do you like my hat? Not that I don't have beautiful hair, but I want to be different. To stand out. To be outstanding. And when was the last time you saw a faerie in a hat? Imagine that, fat cat!

Here comes Anne. I think she's been at some Union thingy or other. Or Onion thingy. Puck says she was at an Onion Charade.

You may shower me with praise now. Or flour me with maize.


Saturday, September 02, 2006

Everything You Need

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Godless? Never! We've always got room at the table for another god or goddess. And for you, too, so long as you're not a sloppy eater. See our theme song, by the peerless Nachtchat, below!

Today I was more or less forced to go shopping at one of those big box chain stores. Ech, yuck. But you can't get tablecloths at the thrift store. Remember our rule about staining things.

The store manager rang up my purchase, and he said:

"Did you find everything you need?"

Sorry, but it always cracks me up when they ask that. As if Bed, Bath and Beyond could satisfy all my needs in its overpriced aisles!

Can't you think of just about 1,000 snappy comebacks to that question? I mean, like the personal:

"I didn't see college tuition for my daughters back there. What aisle is it on?"

To the universal:

"I need a rapid cessation of global warming and sane national leadership."

To the profound:

"I need to feel peace, within and without."

To the truth:

"I need my teenaged body and my adult smarts. WHAT THE HELL AISLE IS THAT ON?"

Today I asked for Johnny Depp. Not that I need him or anything, it would just be fun to bring him home and see my tween's reaction.

You should have seen the look on the guy's face. The lady getting ready to stuff one tablecloth into a huge plastic bag just cracked up. But the guy didn't get me at all. I guess he's still adjusting to losing his high-salaried executive job and having to settle for working as a manager at Bed, Bath and Beyond.

PS - I didn't take their huge plastic bag. I never take plastic bags unless I need them.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Cat Paint

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where we've never stopped worshipping cats since the days of Sun Ra!

Let's face facts, friends. Any creature that can sleep 20 hours a day and then expect you to feed it and clean up after it is expressly superior to you. Any questions?

These pretties were recent fosters. They've both been adopted. I had about a week free of all kittens, and then the Animal Control gal called with another litter. Four this time.

So off I go to the pound, where I find a cat carrier that seems to be empty, except when you try to stare into it, and then it comes alive with hissing and spitting and pathetic growling. I bring the carrier home, open it, and extract four balls of biting fire who look like they'd eat me if the size issue suddenly reversed.

I place the little wretches into a coop and get my first look. And just like those pictured above, these are awash in cat colors, works of art.

There must be a bored goddess, name long forgotten, whose job it is to paint cats.

I'm not talking about those nutcase people who slather their poor pets with purple and magenta acrylics. Nor am I talking about the equally challenged folks who dab their cats' feet with paint and then urge Fluffy to leap at an empty canvas. Those are clearly mortals. Thank goodness.

I'm talking about the Divine Presence who begins each morning with thousands of pure white cats and turns them into the dazzling array of colorful varieties that enliven our lives.

This goddess paints cats. Only a few squeak through with their white coats intact. (Sorry about the word choice, mice!) The others get dips and dabs, zig-zaggy lines across their faces, dappled ears. The cat-painting goddess tends to miss a lot of bellies. They'll sometimes be white even when the rest of the puss is well turned out.

I imagine that some days the Goddess of Cat Paint gets to feeling sorry for herself. Once upon a time she probably had a respected name and a huge praise and worship team. Now she's as anonymous as a graffiti artist, perhaps even more so.

When she gets low, the goddess turns on the conveyor belt and cranks out ordinary tabbies. You know the ones I mean. Generic striped cats in brown or gray, the kind you see sitting forlorn at PetSmart while the pretty kittens get adopted first. You wonder why there are so many of these "plain Janes" until you see one at work.

My cat Beta is just such an assembly-line product, and she caught a mouse the other morning with one paw tied behind her back. The daft little rodent never saw her coming. Tabby stripes are the perfect camouflage, assuring that some cats will survive the Rapture and keep right on rockin', even after the Friskies run out.

Thank you, Goddess of Cat Paint, for my generic tabbies, Alpha and Beta.

Sometimes I think the Goddess of Cat Paint takes an afternoon off and turns her paints over to the faeries. How else can I explain the kittens brawling at my feet? They look like Jackson Pollock flung cat paint at them from across the room. Random splotchy-blotchy, streaks of gold, flashes of white, chunks of ordinary tabby. They're Postmodernist felines. I imagine a respectable baby bunny would see their neon madness a block away, with plenty of time to hop to the shelter of the nearest honeysuckle hedge.

But of course the Goddess of Cat Paint knows what she's doing. These oddball paint-jobs are the ones we all coo over, cuz they're so damned cute, and off they go to a life of satin cat-cushions and Fancy Feast.

The cat at Woodstock Trading Company is all white with just a tiny smudge of gray right above her nose. You can almost see the Goddess of Cat Paint reaching down and just scritching a white nose for a fraction of a second.

So, the next time you heft a boot to throw at the loud tomcat on the back alley fence, remember that he got those yellow stripes from the Goddess of Cat Paint.
Where, you ask, did he get his bad toilet habits, scary singing voice, and poor sense of family planning? Why, that's all Intelligent Design, of course.