Sunday, September 30, 2007

A Fistful of Rattlesnakes

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" We believe in the right to life, therefore we try to steer clear of critters we would have to kill if they threatened us. Poisonous snakes rank high on the list.

This past week the History Channel ran a documentary called Hillbilly: The Real Story. As if you could tell anyone's real story in two hours, let alone a whole region of people. And true to form, the documentary hits all the stereotypes, beginning with moonshine and ending with country music.

(Of the latter, the documentarians probably did not know that in a survey of professors at the Peabody Conservatory, bluegrass was ranked the most difficult form of music to master in the world.)

Most interesting to us at "The Gods Are Bored" was a segment on evangelical Christian snake handlers. Apparently there's a passage somewhere in Judeo-Christian Myths and Legends (better known as the Holy Bible) in which Christians are told that if they have enough faith they can handle snakes and drink poison, and they will not be harmed.

Appalachia has its share of poisonous snakes, most notably rattlesnakes and copperheads. Dewey Chafin, a West Viginian pictured above, is one of the best-known snake handlers.

People have died doing this (surprise, surprise), and so certain states in Appalachia have outlawed the practice. West Virginia has not.

We at "The Gods Are Bored" feel most emphatically that state legislatures do not have the Constitutional power to outlaw snake handling as part of a religious ritual. That's a violation of the First Amendment. Seems to me that the snake handlers have a sweet lawsuit on their hands if anyone of them gets busted for rippin around in a religious frenzy with a handful of rattlers.

We at "The Gods Are Bored" will not allow our daughters to handle any snake. This past summer, when their friends at St. Michaels caught one and handed it to The Spare, I quashed that immediately even though it was a black snake. When snake fangs enter skin, nasty things happen. Please keep that in mind if your deity asks you to do it.

Most deities don't make such requests, and even more of them wouldn't put it into writing. So please feel free to search for a new deity if yours asks you to do something you know to be harmful to yourself or others. Plenty of nice Goddesses would have no part of that.

But if you must boogie with a rattler to prove your faith, you should have that right.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Blaming It on the Faeries

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored" on another Friday football night! My daughter The Heir is ready to suit up in her synthetic fur and her great big Wombat head and go out and dance through four quarters of football. It's great to be young.

Two nights ago my daughter The Spare saw a ghost in our basement. He's the first ghost we've ever had here. The house is 75 years old, and one would expect a ghost or two to be poking around.

This ghost was a scary man with spiky white hair, dressed in old-fashioned clothing from the 1930s. He told The Spare that "hard times" are coming.

Last night The Spare picked up the picture frame she made at our past weekend Druid event. It slipped from her hands and shattered. Simultaneously, The Heir, in the next room, watched as a lamp on the mantelpiece fell over, breaking a glass picture frame.

This is not Casper, apparently.

I know from some previous neighbors that our house once had a larger yard that was subdivided in the Great Depression so that the residents of our house could pay their property taxes. So my theory is that this ghost was a resident of this house at that time. His dire warning could apply both to our family (or to any middle-class family in the Bush era). Or it could apply to his own circumstances back in the day.

I ain't fraid of no ghosts. But this gent has some properties that might lead to the staining of my upholstery.

Usually I wear at least one of my faeries to school, but last night I scattered them through the house. Puck went to The Spare's bedroom and is sitting by her bed. Princess is on the altar to Queen Brighid the Bright. Aine is on the mantel.

Today Mr. Johnson called a friend of ours who is a psychic. This psychic is also a Christian, which doesn't diminish her in my opinion at all. However, she thinks I think lowly of her. Which I don't. I wanted her advice on the ghost. (She knows I'm a Pagan.)

The psychic said that my faeries have drawn this bad ghosty dude into the house, that it was bound to happen sooner or later, because some faeries are good and some are bad, and I've attracted bad faeries.

I've read about faeries. I know what bad faeries do. I mean, really bad faeries. They've been accused, rightly, of evil deeds. But nowhere have I ever read that they lure ghosts into your house. And it's a rare faerie who is human-sized. Some of them are, but not many.

I've had my faerie Princess since 2003, Puck since Christmas of 2005 (he was a surprise gift), and Aine for about six months. I have two faerie balls hanging in my house, both of which have been in residence since late 2004/early 2005. I bought a faerie ball that turned out to have a very powerful faerie in it, so I sent her to Scott. He seems to get along with her fine.

Bad faeries? I've had a few. But something in me bristles when a psychic who says I think she's a "God Person" blames the spirits of my faith when a ghost wanders in whose provenance can be established.

Well, there's a beautiful cool breeze blowing right now, and it's almost game time. So I'm going to throw some plastic slipcovers over my precious furniture and go watch a mascot.

If anyone of my wonderful readers has a theory on how or why this ghost has snuck in, please share. Go ahead and tell me if you agree with the psychic. We're all about inclusion here at "The Gods Are Bored!"

Thursday, September 27, 2007

In Which Anne Introduces her Daemons, with an Assist from J. Scott

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored." We like gods. We like goddesses. We like sacred animals. We like pecan pie.

Do you have a daemon? Note the spelling. A daemon is an animal totem that goes with you everywhere and is a central part of your personality. If you think this is nutsy fagan, you should read the "His Dark Materials" trilogy by Philip Pullman. In alternate universes, people can actually see their daemons.

Put your thinking cap on. Imagine what Anne's daemon is. Oh gosh, what a tough one!

Anne actually has two daemons. Both are turkey vultures. Their names are Buzzy and Clem.

A fellow Appalachian Greens scribe named J. Scott has had the novel idea of soliciting characters and genres and then writing stories based upon them. So, just to be cantankerous ... err ... cheeky, I submitted characters Buzzy and Clem, vultures, and asked her to make it funny.

Bless his/her (I think her) soul, J. Scott has never met Buzzy and Clem, but she nailed them pretty doggoned good. (Except for them not liking dead skunk, it's their personal favorite.)

So first I'll let J. Scott tell you about Buzzy and Clem, and then maybe I'll elaborate on them a little bit. That way, the three or four of you who think I'm sane will know beyond doubt that I'm a wicki-wacky-wackadoo.

J. Scott's awesome tale of Buzzy and Clem is here.

Thanks, J.! Made my day!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

They're Too Heavy to Carry

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," accused of having too big a vocabulary since 1973!

How vividly I recall the ugly, nasty chap in Middle School who got all his buddies to call me "Walking, Talking Dictionary." Girls were not supposed to be smart. They were supposed to fawn over guys who hate smart girls.

Yawn on the lawn until dawn, never fawn! That was my philosophy.

On the first day of first grade, the teacher handed out the first primer. While she was handing it out, I read the whole thing, cover to cover. Mama, trained as a teacher, couldn't work because of her fragile health. She had taught me to read when I was three. It stuck, and I became a Walking, Talking, etc. etc. etc.

Another layer: My Appalachian grandma could rhyme all the time, on the dime. You could say I'm hard-wired to love words.

Speaking of words, if I can't find one that suits me, I'll make it up! Probably the last nail in my Walking, Talking, etc. etc. etc. coffin was the year of Latin that I took as a curious high school senior. All those prefixes, suffixes, and root words! What a treasure trove!

Nulla dies sine linea. Another philosophical statement. Perhaps you've noticed that about me.

So, I may not get all the words right, or I may graft a few together that don't quite mesh, but hey. It's easier than lugging around a heavy old dictionary.

Speaking of heavy old dictionaries, have you ever seen the Oxford English Dictionary in all its splendor? Send me to the county library, point out the shelf it's on, and I'm a no-show to the cocktail party. You may not see me again until Februrary, by which time I'll know the complete history of the words "devil," "orgasm," and "whiskey."

Drunk on words again! One day I'm gonna sober up.


See me and Bibi at Faerie Con! Only a few weeks away!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Druids in the Land of the Jersey Devil

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," faithfully promoting omnitheism since 2005!

Pantheism isn't a broad enough term, because it only includes the gods and goddesses whose names we know. Do the math! Homo sapiens (who should more properly perhaps be named Homo work in progress) has been leaving stuff behind for 100,000 years. What deity inspired all those cave paintings at Lascaux? ALL HAIL WHOEVER YOU ARE!

My daughter The Spare and I set off Saturday morning to a meeting of the Red Oak Grove Druids, held in the famed New Jersey Pine Barrens. The Spare is 13, and I was wondering how a 10-hour, two-meal get-together (hyphen hyphen hyphen) would keep her interest. She was wondering too, but she was game.

You know how sometimes you get a surprise package in the mail, and you don't know what's in it, and it turns out to be a big ol' basket of bon bons from Auntie Em? That's kind of how it turned out in the Pine Barrens.

My Appalachian readers can stop here, because none of the rest of this will make a bit of sense to you. Pagans, read on!

The guests of Red Oak Grove included all three Archdruids of the ADF, including its founder Isaac Bonewitz. The trio took seats under an awning and proceeded to discuss the founding of the ADF, its aims, its goals, and its growing pains.
EXHIBIT A: Skip Ellison, current Archdruid, says he spends about 50-60 hours a week on ADF business. He is not salaried, nor is he running a national bakery and a Washington, DC newspaper.

The following are not goals of the ADF:

1. To send zealous missionaries all over the planet, hacking down deities right and left until everyone on earth believes in the ADF.

2. To support the founder of the ADF and his subsequent leadership in opulent luxury, earned from the back-breaking labor of brainwashed devotees.

3. To become the force that changes our national currency to read "One Nation Under Danu," and our pledge of allegiance to include "One nation, under ... (insert 300 Celtic deities) ... with liberty, etc. etc. etc."

The following are goals of the ADF:

1. To respect the Earth in a proactive way.

2. To produce learned priests and priestesses with education similar to that gained in Christian divinity schools, thus endowing certain individuals with authentic credentials that would be acceptable to, oh, say, the U.S. military.

3. To have an open mind toward all deities and to promote especially the Celtic ones through outdoor rituals and fellowship.

All three Archdruids were articulate, intelligent, kind, and committed. It was a distinct pleasure to meet them, especially since Druid Bonewitz will soon move to the West Coast, making sightings of him in the Jersey Pine Barrens rather more rare.

The entire workshop was videotaped, and I do hope it ends up on YouTube, or somewhere that interested Druids can watch it.

Oh, and I guess I should mention that none of the Archdruids expressed any interest in being worshipped themselves, as individuals. They aren't looking to start a new religion, but rather to throw some business to a highly deserving group of bored Gods and Goddesses.

The Spare listened to the entire workshop while crafting a clay monument to her deceased grandfather. She sat out the ritual, but she did enjoy the company of Bardd Dafydd's son, who is also sweating out Middle School. After considerable ice was broken, they found plenty of common ground.

Well, what can one say about a ritual that includes three Archdruids? We'll just go into standard "Gods Are Bored" vernacular here. It was as good as watching the buzzards of Pomona warm their wings on rooftops of a cold winter's morn.

Druid Bonewitz agrees with me that the bored gods are very grateful for the Druid renaissance, even if we don't know much about how the ancient Celts celebrated their rites. If we don't get it "right," they're still charmed by the effort. And so am I.

Our operators are standing by to take your call.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Wombat, Red Oak, Black Oak, Monkey Man

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Over 1 billion deities served! Those golden arches may lead you to a heaven without a single jealous god!

We at "The Gods Are Bored" are facing four very busy days, so we may be away for awhile. If you're new to our site, you may enjoy our various interviews with "Mr. Applegate," which is what Satan likes to call himself. They're in the archives.

1. Friday night marks the second home football game of the Snobville Fighting Wombats, which means my daughter The Heir will suit up in her fur and strut till the Gatorade runs dry.

2. Saturday the daughters and I are driving to New Jersey's famed Pine Barrens for a Druid get-together with the Red Oak Grove. It's an all-day event with a twilight ritual. We will be guests of this Grove. Am looking forward to it.

3. Sunday is the Alban Elued ritual with my regular Grove, now in the process of changing names, but I'll just call them the Black Oak Grove. We meet in a beautiful park and are getting to know each other, which is a great thing.

4. Monday, it's back into the wild and unpredictable realm of the Monkey Man! He disappears in the summertime. The last time I saw him I worked four puppets in a show he'd written, including a crow that made the most hilarious "caw caw caw," which I bilked for all it was worth. The Heir and I are eager to see our friend and hear his latest poetry and hug that funky monkey who sometimes disappears but never forever.

If you want me to seek blessings for you at any or all of these rituals, please leave a comment stating:

Your name
Your deity or deities
Your favorite football team (Friday Wombat Nite only)
Your favorite poem (Monkey Man Nite only)

(pictured above ... sigh ...)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Some Assembly Required

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," weighing the world in the balance and finding it wanting since ... let's see ... I know I didn't have a color television set at the time. So we'll call it 1964.

The pesky First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says that Congress will not "abridge the freedom ... of the people peaceably to assemble."

Notice our Founding Fathers even got the infinitive correct! ("to assemble")

Well, readers, what can I say? Can you really expect that a country that prints "In God We Trust" on its legal tender (violating the same First Amendment) is going to get this peaceable assembly for the redress of grievences thing right?

Me neither.

You take your average college or university, invite a politician to speak, allow a couple of students to gather together to hear the politician, and it's practically an open invitation to police brutality. Because, you know, people with grievances -- especially young, healthy people with grievances -- are always just an eyeblink away from becoming a murderous mob!

So, let us not allow those peaceable grievancers to blink their eyes.

To use a metaphor from the game of bowling, the entire history of the United States has teemed with unconstitutional instances of "strike hard, spare no one."

Someone got tasered at a John Kerry speech? That's your First Amendment at work.

Please don't tell me that the bad policemen will be disciplined. What's important is what happens at the moment of peaceable assembly. You're much more likely to get the big hurt from a gun-toting National Guardsman, a hose-wielding policeman, or a baton-bashing anti-union goon than from ... a jury. Months or years later. In a small, quiet courtroom.

We at "The Gods Are Bored" suggest that perhaps the entire Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution should just be deleted for excess word count. That way Americans won't look like a bunch of moron hypocrites.

Monday, September 17, 2007

You Can Write on It and Still Spend It!

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," serving the large community of downsized deities since 2005! We put the "Pan" in pantheon!

Sunday's Washington Post had an article about atheists and about how many people have abandoned Christianity since 9/11. Apparently one by-product of the Islamic terrorism attacks has been to make thinking people question The Big I-Am, if you know who I mean.

We at "The Gods Are Bored" endorse that, of course! We just don't think atheism is the only answer. Polytheism works just as well, or better. No one has ever been heard saying, "I slay thee in the name of Fintan, the Salmon of Wisdom." And, if indeed there are heavens out there in the great beyond, Fintan's swimming along in one of them, happy as a ... well ... a salmon.

The Washington Post article said that some atheists have gone so far as to ink out "In God We Trust" on their money.

Now, here's an awesomely splendid idea! Except let's tweak it a little.

Today I pulled out my wallet, extracted the four lousy dollars I had to my name, and added an "s" to "In God We Trust." All my money now says "In GodS We Trust!"

What a wonderful way to honor all those bored gods who wish they could work at the U.S. mint just to get the government pension!

If you get a dollar bill that says "In GodS We Trust," you'll know it came from the hand of Anne Johnson. Or better yet, click your Bic and join the party! DIY!

Especially if you live in Kansas.

(I'm still laughing at the thought of an immortal deity pulling a government pension. Then again, no government lasts forever ... but it might be a fun ride for awhile!)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Our President Is a Moron

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," devising creative headlines each and every day! Have you ever heard anything as self-evident as "Our President Is a Moron?"

When it comes to protest marches, we at "The Gods Are Bored" generally cringe under rocks. We're of an age to have protested the Vietnam War -- and we did, in spirit. But out there with signs and slogans? Naah. The good ol' ancestors got their asses whupped in the Whiskey Rebellion, and since then the family policy has been to lay low and whine inside our own four walls.

Therefore we did not attend the September 15 march in Washington against the Iraq "war." Nor are we brave enough to hang awesome signs like the Freeway Blogger.

However, we do have a policy regarding the ousting of brutal dictators by superpower nations. It is similar to our policy on bored gods.

If we go after one brutal dictator, such as Saddam Hussein, then we ought to go after each and every brutal dictator and genocidal regime in the world, including not a few in Africa. Selecting to go after the brutal dictator who happened to be sitting on a motherlode of crude oil reeks of unfair selectivity.

But the sign says it all. I hope the Freeway Blogger doesn't mind my use of it. If he (or she) sues me, all he (or she) will get is a totaled car and a couple of kittens from the pound.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

One Small Thing

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" I saved the most comfortable chair for you. Hope you like it!

Since last week I've been working (hard) as a substitute teacher in a vo-tech. I have two sections of "shop" lasting three class periods each (120 minutes). That's freshmen. And it ain't agriculture, which is my particular specialty, goat judging being my area of concentration.

My other class is a one-period senior elective called Workplace Readiness.

Seniors tend to be ready with pungent sneers when you try to teach them. Doesn't matter where they go to school.

One such young man in my Workplace Readiness class has expressed his disdain in this way since the opening of school.

Today I led the class on filling out the college "common application" online. If you're a geezer like me, you've never heard of such a thing. But what it is, it's a time-saving general application with all your pertinent information that you can submit online to any college that will take it. And lots of colleges take it.

What's great about this app is that you don't have to add the tricky stuff like your social security number or your credit card data until you're ready to apply somewhere.

But you do need an email address.

Today I helped a high school senior to get an email address. His home computer doesn't have Internet. It was great to see how pleased he was to have a Yahoo email account of his own. All of a sudden he was like a gentle little kid. (Not the goat kind, the human kind.)

It will be interesting to see if he sneers at me tomorrow. I'll let you know.

PS - If any of you reading this are teachers, how the heck do you do it? By the end of the day I'm toast.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Gods Are Bored

Welcome to ... do you have any idea how fast I can type "The Gods Are Bored" by this time? I've been doing it since the spring of 2005.

You do know, don't you, that if you type a word frequently, you get faster and faster at it? For awhile I could type New York Times Book Review faster than you could say, "What a crock of snobby crap!"

The perplexing journalist H.L. Mencken once wrote a short essay about the death of the old gods and goddesses. He stated that they had died becuase no one worshipped them anymore. Then he gave a list that actually included the Inca name for the Sacred Thunderbird.

I agree with Mencken frequently, but on this occasion, he's dead wrong. And dead too. He died in 1956. I wrote the first and most authoritative entry on him for Contemporary Authors, so I should know.

No god or goddess or sacred entity has died. Ever. They are immortal. If you'll look at a god contract, you'll see that Clause A specifically states: "All deities are now, and will forever remain, immortal."

Those "God Is Dead" folks back in the 1960s? Wishful thinking.

God won't ever die. But he is not immune from the onset of boredom. Oh no sirree.

Gods and Goddesses become bored when they no longer have praise and worship teams. Lacking the support of followers, these deities sit idle, playing bridge and building domino chains. Some of them, having exhausted their burnt offerings, etc., must find gainful employment. The guy who sells you the knockoff Prada handbag on the side street in Manhattan may be a bored god. (It's impolite to ask, and it just makes him feel worse if you do.)

If you don't believe that deities are immortal, why, just look around you. There's a growing population of Pagans, re-connecting with bored gods and goddesses from pantheons past. If those deities weren't immortal, would they still be around to smell the fragrant incense at a Druid gathering? I think not!

You see, big guy gods (or just plain ol' God) can trample but not kill. So at any time, an ancient god or goddess (or Thunderbird) can suddenly emerge from the shadows and start recruiting again.

Nothing makes a deity happier than being worshipped. So we at "The Gods Are Bored" encourage you to sit in the woods, invite a few random pantheons, and love any or all of them.

Think about the last time you went to a doctor, and they had you strip to your skivvies and sit for 15 hours waiting for attention. Isn't Queen Brighid the Bright worth more than that?

Our operators are standing by to take your call.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Final Post about Amtrak Annie

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" We're supposed to be talking about bored gods and goddesses here, not me. I'm not bored, I'm boring. Whereas the Sacred Thunderbird is awe-inspiring. (Our operators are standing by to take your call.)

Someone wanted to know what happened that sent Amtrak Annie off the main line. Well, it's just about exactly what has happened to so many Americans. The corporation that owned the books I worked for kept trying to find ways to get the copy more and more cheaply. Finally they said I would have to incorporate in order to get more work. At great expense, I became the company Atlantic Information Services.

Speaking of which, Atlantic Information Services vied for least successful corporation in the entire state of New Jersey in 2005! (Just kidding, I didn't lose my shirt like some LLCs do. But it's doggone expensive to bust up an Inc. once you've started it.)

Shortly after I incorporated, the multi-national that owned the ref book company gave the entire ref series contract to a single corporation, owned by a former full-timer who'd been in house after I left. That guy held all of us faithful Contemporary Authors contributors hostage, dropping the rates and expecting all the crazy coding to be done and checked by us. I tried it for awhile, and then I decided that I could make better money substitute teaching. It was that tedious. And the most tedious entries were the ones I liked doing -- the big deal authors like Arthur Miller (see my former entry in Contemporary Authors New Revision Series, I think it's Vol. 20, at any rate one of the early volumes and not Volume 347, which is what they're cranking out now). Arthur Miller liked what I wrote about him so much he autographed the entry for me. I got a nice note from Stanley Kubrick too.

From time to time friends do send me tips on jobs. Invariably they turn out to be turkeys (the jobs, that is, not the friends). Philadelphia is a publishing hub, but all of its pub houses are for medical/technical books and periodicals. I've been trying for years to crack into one or the other of them with no luck, because they want people with medical or scientific writing backgrounds.

I do plan to create my own web site this fall, if I can find a bored god who will help me set it up for a reasonable rate. Athena, Goddess of Wisdom springs to mind, as does my dear old buddy Fintan, the Salmon of Wisdom. Maybe they'll get me off Amtrak and put me in the Space Shuttle. I know for a fact that Fintan is very eager to put his fins to any task.

Tomorrow, or the next day, it's back to my old sassy self! I didn't set up "The Gods Are Bored" to be a pity-poor-me pit. I'm here to have fun. Go ahead. Tie my hands behind my back and put me in a blueberry pie-eating contest. You can bet your shirt on me, and I'll win.

Monday, September 10, 2007

asdf jkl;

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Our train rode the fast track back in the day, but signal problems developed along the line. The passengers are not amused.

In my lifetime, I've written five full books, chapters for dozens of encyclopedias, and countless entries for one of the best-known reference series in America. At one time I faithfully produced 500,000 words of copy a year. Year after year after year.

For those of you who don't know word counts, that total makes Shelby Foote look like a slacker.

When the old Amtrak Annie was chugging along, I was the first in my office environment to use a word processor to generate copy. I was the first independent contracter to buy and operate a computer to complete my work.

I dumped 20,000 words of encyclopedia entries in the U.S. mail, went home, had a baby, and went back to work 3 days later, generating another 20,000 words of copy during the first month of my daughter The Heir's life.

I lugged Baby Spare to the library, where she stared out at the microfilm machines with her big blue eyes. The staff called her the "library baby."

Does anyone remember when ESPN had all those little "Classic Moments of Sports" on t.v. at the turn of the millennium? There were 1000 of those. I researched 250 of them and wrote all 1000. Sometimes 15 in a day on tight deadline. One Sunday morning they sent a personal courier all the way from Westport, CT to South Jersey with film that needed narrative. That very day, not Monday.

In the summer of 2004 the signal changed. Amtrak Annie got sent to the pits instead of to Pittsburgh.

Today I reached into the deepest recesses of my memory and taught my first lesson in touch typing to two classes of 40 freshmen.

I'm making the same amount of money today that I did in 1990. I am working as a substitute teacher.

If someone knows how to flip the signal that will make me a writer again, please do it! I'm not a bad teacher. The kids like me. But it's not me. There's still a Shelby Foote in me, longing to bang out copy on fascinating topics ... Supervillains one day, Noam Chomsky the next, Andy Warhol after that.

What I guess I'm saying is, help.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Boasting, Botox, and the 25 That Got Away

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where on any given day you'll see drivel that's hardly fit to read! But don't let that stop you. The deities you worship will appreciate your interest in this site.


The old saying goes, "Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, except backwards and in high heels."

I thought of this Friday night when my daughter The Heir donned her heavy, synthetic furry Fighting Wombat costume in 80-degree humidity and served as mascot for the Snobville Wombats football team. Oh, those cute little cheerleaders got to wear t-shirts and gym shorts. But not the Wombat. The Wombat matched (nay, bested) the cheerleaders for enthusiasm! Out there gyrating around through a whole football game on a night when the spectators were sweating! Oh, to be able to YouTube it! I promise I'll try.

Are you reading this, all you universities out there? Anyone need a mascot? Heck, my kid's the Kobe Bryant of mascots. She could skip college altogether and go straight to the Big Leagues!


How did the Powers That Be discover me to be a woman of a certain age? Because every time I open my Yahoo mailbox, I get advertisements to get rid of wrinkles. And they're gross. Female faces with one side before and one side after.

Not only do these ads make me wanna puke, they just don't apply. My family tree runs tall and wide with people who don't look their age, including me. That's issue "A." Issue "B" is that I don't have a problem with people looking their age. It sickens me that our society puts so much stress on youth. Have you ever met anyone who was simultaneously young, gorgeous, and wise?

The 25 That Got Away

Saturday there was a flea market here in Snobville. Fresh off her nighttime mascot spree in the blinding heat, my daughter The Heir helped a friend set up and run a table. The Heir lives for flea markets. After setting up, she went to look around. She found an old rubber monster and an old rubber eraser animal that I had described from my childhood. She bought them for a quarter apiece.

When I visited her about two hours later, she proudly showed me her "finds." She said the lady who sold them to her had a whole box of similar stuff.

I rushed to the lady's table. And yes, she was a very, very, very, very wise lady who had never used Botox. Well, wait a minute. Scratch some of those "very" labels. Because what she had done was scour the old attic and bring down the toys her children played with. And sold them for a quarter apiece. By the time I hit her table, a dealer had snapped up the rest of the rubber animals.

She was a very huffy, snobby lady, and quick to brag that the buyer of the rubber animals was glad to get them. With equal snobbiness I informed her that, oh yes indeed he probably was ecstatic, because he could probably sell them for ten times her price (minimum) on Ebay. That rather drained her wise-looking face of color.

The moral of this post is, would someone please tell me how to fool my computer into thinking I don't care about stuff that will make me look young?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Loophole

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," now taking passengers for heaven at Door Number One! And guess what? You don't have to leap off at that big commuter hub where everyone else exits to run to their cars. Ride on a few more stops. Enjoy the scenery. There are some really nice deities further out along the line. Especially if you go local and not express.

I'm in the process of eliminating everything that annoys me day by day. Of course, in order to do this completely one must medicate profusely. But just by dropping a few morons here and there, a burden can be lightened.

About two years ago I got suckered into a community group full of elderly ladies with strong opinions. One of them keeps sending me "WE NEED PRAYER IN THE SCHOOLS" chain mails. Two days ago, this annoying gal sent me this long thing about a father whose child was killed at Columbine. The father testified before Congress that what caused his child to be killed was a lack of God in the schools. He blamed Congress for yanking God outta the classrooms.

So, okay. This is about the 16th of these I've gotten from the same dapper gal. Finally I responded. I said that our current leadership can't advocate prayer in schools because it is against the VERY FIRST AMENDMENT in the U.S. Constitution. Yep, this is not the doing of Nancy Pelosi, no matter what they say in Kansas.

Her reply reveals the fundie response to the carefully-crafted Establishment Clause:

1. A moment of silence should be allowed in which children can pray.

2. Congress didn't mean not to establish CHRISTIANITY as its religion, only a specific BRANCH of Christianity, like Anglicanism.

This lady had a long career in nursing. How could she have assisted heart surgeons while proving to be so unable to think critically?

To her first spirited reply, I would like to tell her that Druids do not pray silently. We chant "Awens," often quite loudly and always loudly enough to be heard. That might prove distracting to the Christian kindergarteners at your local public school.

To the second, I would like to tell her that "Christianity" is so broad that it includes Satan worship. One rather doubts that James Madison would like Congress to establish a religion that, on its most radical wing, encourages the slaughter of kittens in pentagrams.

I'm not going to waste my precious fingerprints typing a reply to my chain-mail gal pal. That's what a delete button is for. And -- to get back to my first point -- I've quit the group she's in. Saying "I resign" removed an annoyance from my life.

The moral of today's sermon: Go ahead and pray in school if you want to, but don't ask the damn government to choose your brand of prayer as its primary provider.

Second moral: One of the kids killed at Columbine was shot in cold blood because she said she believed in God. So God was in the school that day after all. If this sounds cold, well, you just don't believe in a hereafter. I believe in a hereafter ... lots of 'em.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Bring it On

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" If you're just joining us for the first time, here's the nut graph: All gods and goddesses are welcome, respected, and served first at the buffet. This maximizes Anne's chances of having more fun after death than she has had before it.

I'm a true omni-theist who attended Saturday's Pagan Pride Day with my Druid Grove while still nodding respectfully to the Muslims and the Old Order Mennonites. (PPD in Philly was held at a lovely urban park which was also hosting a flea market, a farmer's market, and some kind of weird thing where about 100 boys ran amok swatting each other with foam lances.)

I love buzzards. Always have, always will. It's my philosophy that if you look at anything close-up enough, it will become beautiful in your sight. Go ahead, study a turkey vulture and see if I'm not right.

Tomorrow I begin another long-term substitute teaching position at Billy Bob Agricultural Technical School. For the munificent sum of $100 a day, I must prepare for and teach four separate classes. They are: Workplace Readiness (seniors), Office -- Career and Leadership Development -- Keyboarding (freshmen). Except for Keyboarding, this is a classic case of "those who can't do, teach." I haven't worked in an office since 1987. And if I knew the Ps and Qs of workplace readiness, wouldn't I have a real job? The staff of BBATS didn't think I was properly qualified to teach writing. Better hone those skills.

Did you hear? Miracles happen. The mighty Michigan Wolverines got beaten by the humble Appalachian State Mountaineers! Wow, I would have loved to have watched that football game, but Spare and I were at Pagan Pride Day.

Also ... a Wiccan dude won the mega-million lottery! I just read it in the newspaper. At least we know that 10 percent of that payout won't go to the Mormon church!

I'm gonna be a busy beaver, readers, but this little weblog is an important part of my day. So stop by. Read my posts. Laugh a little. Partake of the big, broad, flexible outlook, and see if it doesn't cure that pesky case of athlete's foot.