Sunday, November 27, 2011

Helpful Shopping Tips from "The Gods Are Bored"

The weather outside is anything but frightful today ... but if that music on the radio is subliminally activating your need to spend money, we at "The Gods Are Bored" can help you out!

You see, "shop local" only works if you live in a place where the merchandise is affordable. I hardly ever buy anything in Snobville except wedding presents. All else is beyond my means.

Therefore, I have a few merchants listed in my sidebar who can help you get your shopping done -- and they're also super nice people. In fact, I chose them for my sidebar because they are nice people who deserve to make a living from their stores.

*Jules Enchanting Gifts* has the biggest selection of faerie gifts you'll find anywhere, plus tons of other collectibles. The owner of Jules is a young woman named Happy. Happy is her real name, sure as I'm Anne Johnson. Either she grew into the name or it fit her from birth, because Happy is happy! Her jovial nature infuses every purchase from her site.

*Woodstock Trading Company* Channel your inner Dead Head! Or satisfy your need for esoteric incense that you dream about but can't find anywhere. Dr. Seth will either have the incense you need, or he will find it for you. If you phone them, tell them Anne sent you, and ask how "Monstro" is doing! Your order will be shipped promptly! Nicest family on earth, great little shop.

*Molly* Molly is a sculptress of faeries and dragons. Her work is unique and beautiful. Once again, she's one of the nicest human beings on the planet. If you want something extra-special,  I highly recommend Molly. Follow her links. You won't be sorry.

*Moonstone Jewelry* Guys, this one is for you. As a courtesy, I'll remind you on December 24.

Ah, joy. More papers to grade, and then I have to run The Heir back to college. Not sure "run" will be the correct word. Expecting gridlock. Worth it to have her home.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011; Or, How I Learned To Love the 21st Century!

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," Thanksgiving edition, 2011! This century is now more than a decade old, and I have been less than impressed. But now I'm totally down with the 21st. Read on to find out how a "Dazed and Confused"-era teen finally went techno with success!

I have two daughters, The Heir and The Spare (pictured). I have a very close friend, the Monkey Man (pictured). All were invited to my table on Thanksgiving. Blessed be, they all accepted -- and Monkey Man brought his sister and another friend!

Alas, there was a snag. Mr. J, being a sportswriter, is often called upon to write at the holidays. He had a deadline. So I had to drive to Baltimore to pick up his mom. And back to Snobville for the feast.

It's a 200-mile round trip, all on a Thanksgiving morning.

Well, you have your Travel Wednesdays, and you have your Back Fridays, and in between people manage to have dinner with family and friends. I figured the traffic would not be bad on I-95 on Thanksgiving Day itself.

BAMP!!!!! Wrong. Wrong. Wrong! Deduct 50 points from Anne's score!

As I was traveling south on I-95, I noticed the traffic volume moving north. When Mom-in-law and I began our return journey from Baltimore to Snobville, the traffic on I-95 was unbelievable. You could not have squeezed a Handi-Wipe between my car and the one in front of me. You could have tried, though. At the rate the traffic was moving, you'd have been clear to make about 25 attempts.

I'm a veteran traveler of I-95, and I know how to circumnavigate it. Will I share this information with you? Hmmmmm. Email me.

I got off I-95 and took an alternate route. Here's where the plot thickens.

It was after 11:00 in the morning. I had told my guests that dinner would be ready at 4:30. The reason I had made this audacious boast was that I had full confidence in my sous chef, The Spare. You should see some of the fabulous meals she whips up! Caught in traffic? No problem! Spare at the helm, all systems go!

At a red light, I phoned up Spare. Conversation went something like this:

Anne: Hey, have you made the stuffing?

Spare: No, but I'm getting around to it.

Anne: Have you peeled the potatoes?

Spare: I was just getting ready to do that.

Anne: Listen. It's going to take longer than anticipated for me to get home. I need for you to put the turkey in the oven. The directions for preparing it are on the sheet I left on the kitchen counter.

(Very long pause.)

Anne: Spare? Are you there?

Spare: I can't handle a turkey carcass. It will make me puke.

Anne: What are you talking about? You cook stuff all the time!

Spare: Yeah, but ... look, I'm not reaching into a turkey and pulling out the ... parts. Like, I can't do that.

(Anne thinks of a contingency plan.)

Anne: Put your sister on the phone.

(Heir comes to the phone. Mind you, she can boil water for tea and toast a PopTart. End of her cooking ability.)

Anne: Heir, will you help Spare put the turkey in the oven? The directions are on the kitchen counter.

Heir: Ummmmmm. Uhhhhhhh. (No enthusiasm) I guess .......


(Green light. Phone off.)

Long story short, Mom-in-law and I crawled to a stop in front of my house at about half past never. The turkey was not in the oven. It had not been removed from the fridge. To her dubious credit, The Spare had made the stuffing and peeled the potatoes.

Time for a desperate contingency plan!

My oven is a modern, computerized gadget that has had its share of glitches, let me tell you. The oven has a "convection" option that I have never quite figured out. When you use it, time and space become altered as if it's an episode of Doctor Who gone awry. When you cook with convection heat, you dial down the temperature and dial back the time. It must save energy, doing that. But it's damned tricky.

I had no choice.

Slapped that bird in the oven. Convection heat, 300 degrees, 2 hours. Can you believe it, readers? That gobbler was ready for the table by 4:30! Sixteen pounds! Welcome to the 21st century, bored deities!

Monkey Man arrived, bearing home-made cranberry bread and a pumpkin pie. His sister arrived with the classic Green Bean Casserole, which was really and truly invented by a citizen of Snobville who worked in the test kitchen at Campbell's.

We all had a lovely dinner. Even the famed Monkey was happy, because I had a whole bunch of bananas set aside for him. We drank a toast and all said what they were thankful for. (Monkey Man's sister said she was grateful "that my weird brother always manages to find lovely friends.")

My mom-in-law was particularly impressed that the turkey was ready in the nick of time. During Thanksgivings past, she had been renowned for hounding me about when I was going to put the bird over the fire.

I saved the best for last. After dinner, the Monkey Man presented me with a gift. It was like 25 Yuletides came in one single second! Here's a picture of him, modeling my gift earlier in the day, at the annual Snobville-Snob Heights football game ...


I am blown away by this fabulous headgear. It bothers me slightly that the thing was probably made in some poor Third World country, but man-oh-man. Never has product met consumer with more satisfaction!

We at "The Gods Are Bored" hope you had a happy Thanksgiving. We hope you took a pass on Walmart on Black Friday. If not, don't ask us to feel sorry for you if you were trampled, shot, or pepper-sprayed. (Seriously. Look it up. People got pepper-sprayed at Walmart.)

This Thanksgiving was really special. We all missed Great-Grandma (who is still hovering), but we delighted in new friends and family. I have to work on Spare's gag reflex, but that can wait for another day.

I hope your holiday was special too. If not, let me know. I could set a place for you next year ... and save a few bananas back for your monkey puppet. It's how I roll.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Return to Sender

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Last night was a big night here in Snobville. It's "Spirit Week" (wow, just got the double meaning of that!), and the classes at Snobville High participated in their usual competitions, which encourage rivalry in the name of making money for charities and food banks.

My daughter The Spare is a Senior. She has always lived and breathed Spirit Week, but never more than this time -- her swan song as the driving force of the Spirit Week Committee, Class of 2012.

Spare's class chose "Lord of the Rings" as their hallway theme. And she buckled down to work. And they won.

Her contributions ran from the sublime to the ridiculous. In no particular order:

1. Both of my formal Druid Ritual robes. With my warm blessings.
2. A beautiful hand-crafted leather mask I just bought, giving to my sister for the holidays.
3. Costumes made of sheets and tablecloths from the thrift store.
4. A large piece of Astroturf from Lakewood High, Lakewood, Ohio ... scavenged from our property on Polish Mountain.
5. The contents of my china closet, more or less. I hope she didn't take the champagne glasses.
6. Each and every piece of colonial "kit" wear we amassed over a decade of doing Revolutionary War encampments.
7. Faerie wear, all of it.
8. An old bottle we scavenged from Polish Mountain, as above.
9. Two enormous banners that she painted without any help.
10. A Treebeard costume that could go right onstage.
11. Our outdoor fire bowl AND firewood!
12. Kid-sized furniture that has followed me through life somehow, and
13. An enormous amount of sweat equity.

Spare may not rock when it comes to cleaning her room, but tell her to make a hallway look like Middle Earth, and she will deliver! I was extremely proud of her!

On to the sermon:

November 23 marks the end of the Dominionist assault on the Goddess Columbia and our First Amendment rights, at least in its formal stage. I'm not much at math, but I can't understand how they got so far ahead of me that they were able to spend Samhain in Washington, DC ("C" as in Columbia) and eleven days in Philly, while I'm only up to Missouri!

I don't know how you roll, but I'm seeing some synchronicity between DC40's ruthless prayer vigil and the Occupy Movement. It's almost as if people everywhere are feeling the negative vibe of theocracy and are stepping up to stop it, in the name of democracy. Occupy is about more than unemployment and unfair business tactics. It's about bringing our nation into balance through the right to peaceably assemble, which (by cracky!) is also in the text of the First Amendment!

I'm sure to have lots to say about Occupy in the months to come, but this sermon contains an effort to diffuse dark magick.

I found this lovely and effective spell on Facebook. The more of us doing it, the better. The best times for it will be from midnight Wednesday to sundown on Thursday. This is close enough to the Full Moon to effect a new beginning, but far enough from a Mercury Retrograde to enact any unforseen consequences.

This is a send-back spell, meant to contain no more malice than you would expend upon a pair of shoes you ordered online and need to return because they don't fit. The merchant usually makes these returns very easy, so that you feel no bad humor. Please enter into this spell with that mindset: Something has come to you and your state. That something doesn't fit. Return to Sender, postage paid.

You can say this spell or write it on paper that you consign to air, fire, earth, or water. Pay heed to your sense of calm. You are diffusing ardor, and calmness is the best way to do that.

Spell as follows:

By the Power of (Insert favorite matron/patron/nature deity here) all negative prayers and curses issued by the New Apostolic Reformation, including all so called prayer intercessors who took part in the DC40/51 Days of Reformation Intercession campaign between October 3rd, 2011 and November 22nd, 2011 shall be returned to their source and origin intact exactly as they were sent. By the Power of (insert favorite deity here) and the Powers of The Queen of Heaven, Columbia, Lady Liberty and Nemesis, so mote it be. 

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

First Amendment, United States Constitution, 1791

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Worst Family Illness Ever

So many of us walk around with illnesses we don't know we have. Just this week I learned that the brother of my dear friend Celeste has a malignant form of brain cancer with a three percent survival rate after just one year. The way he found out was that he lost use of his arm. No prior symptoms. How fragile we are.

My family has an illness that is easy to spot if you're looking in from the outside, but hard to accept if you have it. The illness is bipolar disorder, and it can ruin the lives of the sick person and everyone around him or her. All the while, the sick person is protesting that there's nothing wrong, how dare you tell me I need help?

About six years ago, my sister and her husband sold their ranch house in West Virginia and moved across the river into Maryland. They purchased a lavish 4-bedroom home with cathedral ceilings and mountain views. Sis bought all new furniture and decor for it. When I first walked in, it looked like a palace.

Sis and her husband received two large inheritances, one from my side and one from her husband's. I figured the big bequests bankrolled the new house. But then Sis started buying stuff. Expensive stuff. Lots and lots of it. And she acquired pets. She started with one dog. Now she has three. She started with one cat. Now she has five. She started with one bird that she had for 22 years. That bird flew out of its cage recently and hit its head on a wall and died. So now she has two new birds.

Last spring, my sister and her husband (ages 47 and 49) adopted two boys ages 5 and 8. My sister paid a private Christian adoption agency $30,000 for the adoption. The boys have behavior issues, especially the younger one.

This is what my sister told me when last I spoke to her: She and her husband (he has a very well-paying job) are living paycheck to paycheck. They have exhausted both inheritances and their retirement account. The house, once spotless, is now awash in dust and mayhem. She is trying fruitlessly to sell some of the expensive stuff in a desperate effort to recoup losses. I offered to buy a statue she has of a Pan faerie, only to be told it cost $800.

Many nights Sis gets four hours of sleep. Many evenings she deals with wild tantrums. This is all I will say here about the children, but I'll bet you get the picture.

I wondered how an adoption could be arranged without an agency contacting next of kin for a report. Now I know. This "Christian" agency either heard from Sis that I was a Pagan, or it didn't hear about me at all. I would have told them not to place young children with her. I would have told them I didn't think she was stable enough to be saddled with a ready-made family.

Several times in the past few years I have warned Sis that she was showing symptoms of bipolar disorder. Each time she lashed out at me. On one memorable occasion she denounced Druids for being cold-hearted, as if my faith had influenced my discernment.

One of the classic symptoms of bipolar disorder is profligate spending of money. I figured my sister's husband was making big bucks, but he's not. They have blown through a fortune and inherited a whirlwind. I say "they," because her husband is the enabler. It was incumbent upon him to get her ... them ... help.

The moral of this sermon is this: If you know someone who is bipolar, don't blame yourself when that person's life goes awry. Bipolar disorder is a terrible illness. It is incurable but can be managed with medical treatment, constant monitoring, and medicines. But first the victim needs to see the illness. When that doesn't happen, the legal system protects the person until he or she becomes a danger to self or others.

Light a candle for my sister, please. I think she is quickly approaching the danger zone. It's like a car wreck that I don't want to look at, for fear of what I will see.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Not Blaming Arkansas for This!

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," dispensing the wisdom of the ages since 2005! Well, okay, not really. No one here is wealthy or wise ... or old. We still have fun, though.

Speaking of healthy, the poor dude in this famous painting had failed his health test completely. But it didn't stop artist Thomas Eakins from creating the masterpiece, "The Gross Clinic."

Eakins lived in Philadelphia. The painting depicts a group of students in Philadelphia. The painting was on display at Thomas Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia until someone tried to buy it from the cash-strapped TJ.

That someone was Alice Walton of Bentonville, Arkansas. Ms. Walton wanted "The Gross Clinic" for a new museum she was building on her vast fortune gained from Wal-Mart.

Let me plainly state my case here. Wal-Mart mistreats its employees. It encourages the production of shoddy merchandise by poorly-paid workers in far-off lands. Its low prices are offset by the way the merchandise wears out quickly or doesn't work as well as it should. A poor person can't afford to shop at Wal-Mart. He would be better served to pay more and get a pair of shoes that will last three times longer.

At the top of the Wal-Mart pyramid sits the Walton family, esconced in luxury, trolling for iconic art treasures for a museum in their backwater lair.

I keep going back to this story of "The Gross Clinic," because I love it. When the citizens of Philadelphia learned that Alice Walton wanted the painting, and had offered a giant wad of cash for it, the citizens fought back. Together we pooled our resources and paid TJ more than Alice would have. Now the painting is in the Philadelphia Museum of Art (which I affectionately call "The Rocky Museum.").

Alice Walton is not a representative of Arkansas any more than Bill and Hillary Clinton are. But she is a poster child for greed. Is there a religion out there that encourages greed? Not on paper, by golly!

Look closely at your praise and worship team. Does it foster a climate of over-acquisition? If so, resign and relocate. Greed is not good. I don't have to live in a tent to tell you that.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What Remains of Us Is Love

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," celebrating the joys of home and hearth since 2005! We're putting aside the First Amendment again tonight, because we would always rather talk about love.

If your deity or deities are haters, drop that subscription and look around some more. There are plenty of praise and worship teams that won't expect you to think the other guy is going you-know-where.

It's going to be a lively Thanksgiving at Chateau Johnson! The Monkey Man is attending, and he's bringing his sister! When we start sounding our barbaric yawps in the back yard, we're likely to attract some stares. The houses are close together where I live.

From the Monkey Man I learned that a former resident of my house just went to the Summerlands. I used to get mail addressed to this longtime resident. I never met her, but I have met her son. He is a wonderful person, a poet, and he has fond memories of growing up in the house where Mr. J and I raised our daughters, The Heir and The Spare.

Do you believe in spirits? I do, and I fully expect this former residence of my home to re-visit on her way to the Summerlands. With that in mind, I will light candles for her, and even talk to her if I feel her presence.

And what I will tell her is this:

"Vera, whatever you did in this house before I moved in, you must have done with love. Ever since I've lived here I have felt a positive warmth here. This was confirmed by your son when I met him. He described an idyllic childhood and begged me not to cut down the pear tree. Well, the pear tree is still there, and beneath it is a faerie portal. If you choose to sit with my family awhile before you go to the Summerlands, we will be honored to have you.

"When people sell a house and move away, they take their belongings with them. What they leave behind is the aura, the feelings, the happiness or sadness that informed their days while they lived under that roof. Vera, you were happy. Thank you for leaving that happiness behind. I will pay it forward, not forgetting that I'm building on what you began."

The carpet went to the curb, but the love lives on. Blessed be Vera, 1914-2011.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Michigan: What Are You Thinking?

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," resuming in a less structured way our push-back against the ultra-fringe Dominionists who would like to insert God into our government. Thomas Jefferson would order these people deported back to the countries from which their ancestors fled (escaping religious persecution).

I lived in Michigan for four years, and while I was there I was treated extremely kindly on more than one occasion by Christian people. I found, as a white Detroiter, that I was occasionally in a situation where I got bullied for being white. One of those times was when I went to hear Archbishop Desmond Tutu speak at the Ford Arena. While waiting outside, I was told to leave by a group of men who thought I shouldn't be there. A lovely bunch of church ladies, dressed in their best hats, took me in and invited me to sit with them. I have never forgotten that. They even took the trouble to scold the guys who were trying to keep the white woman from hearing Desmond Tutu! And trust me, I still remember Tutu's speech. What an awesome man!

Now, I was going to begin and end with this happy story. But the peerless Jason Pitzl-Waters (see link in my blog, The Wild Hunt) has alerted us to "anti-bullying" legislation in Michigan that would exempt bullying of a religious or moral nature.

For the love of fruit flies! Those guys at Ford Arena would have had the right to bully me right out of seeing Desmond Tutu! They proudly told me that they had marched in Selma, and this was their moment. That certainly is moral grounds for me not to be there.

This is more serious than my own little story, though.

How easy would it be for a dedicated bully to find moral or religious grounds to whomp a kid?

Well, I dunno ... Let's ask Hitler.

I would submit that a good bit of bullying occurs over religious issues, or at least it already gives bullies a pulpit for their actions. Michigan, your law has a big hole in it that you had better patch. Pagan, Arabic, and Jewish Michiganders had better get on this one, or it will be their kids who get jumped, harassed, intimidated, and hazed.

New Jersey has one of the strictest anti-bullying laws around, and as a teacher it makes my job way harder. I have to be alert to every kind of bullying, not exempting trash talk to the kid who comes to school wearing a pentagram. Come on, Michigan. Get real. Go get your trowel and a good batch of cement, and plug that hole.

Here's a fun thing we did in Michigan that I have also never forgotten. When someone wanted to show you how to get to Saginaw from Detroit, he or she would hold up the palm of his or her hand and point from the wrist bone (Detroit) to the lower thumb (Saginaw). If you wanted to go to Traverse City, that's on the pinky.

Okay, got to run. Teacher meeting on bullying!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I Don't Have the Cake, but I've Been Offered a Slice

Hello and welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Here at this site we believe in Higher Powers. Lots of them. The more, the merrier.

I can't believe I'm about to write this, because it will feel like I'm starting a novel or some sort of salacious anonymous tell-all, but here goes:

The opinions expressed at "The Gods Are Bored" are solely those of the author of "The Gods Are Bored" and do not represent the opinions of any other individual, group, race, creed, or shoe size."

You would think something like that would go without saying, but by golly, you would be surprised.

I used to believe that coincidences were just that. Then I read the work of Robert Anton Wilson, and afterwords I had a whole new view of coincidence. A mystic can manipulate coincidence. So can Ancestors and Higher Powers. When a human manipulates coincidence (with or without the assistance of Higher Powers), this is called magick.

Last spring, when the sale of my family farm on Polish Mountain became inevitable, I walked into the woods on the farm. I tore a binding off a quilt made by my great-grandmother. I tied the scrap of cloth around a tree and asked Great-grandma Annie to help bind me and my descendants to the land, by whatever means she felt was the best.

Simultaneously, my dearest cousin, who worships another God, was praying that he could be relieved of the burden of caring for the farm, so that he could go and witness for his faith.

Two people, two different strategic plans. One result.

See if you think all of this is a coincidence, unaffected by my cousin's deity and my great-grandma:

1. About a week after my cousin put up a "for sale by owner: 75 acres" sign with a phone number, he heard from a man who was so determined to buy the property that the man begged to be able to take down the "for sale" sign.

2. The buyer is a local fellow who has hunted in the area and has admired our property for more than 25 years.

3. He is paying cash.

4. He will take the property "as is," which means that he's aware he's buying a piece o' nothing cabin with a multitude of structural issues, but he doesn't care. He'll fix them himself. He even wants the furniture.

5. He does not plan any tear-down. He will never subdivide. He does not want to cut timber.

6. Coincidence? This man feels strongly about family ties to the land. He will not change the locks. I will be welcome on the property any time, and if he's not there, I can stay in the house. He has already told me this 20 times!

7. Because he is local, he will be able to maintain the house (which he loves). Most of the surrounding houses have gone to rack and ruin with their absentee owners letting them fall to pieces. Ours will be kept up. The buyer is 58 with a 22-year-old daughter and a 17-year-old son.

This farm is about 80 miles from Baltimore and Washington. Usually when properties in the area go up for sale, they're either bought by people from those cities who want a getaway, or they're bought by developers who section them into 5-acre plots. Our buyer is a retired railroad worker from Cumberland, Maryland with sufficient income that he has invested in the land for his own family legacy.

Yesterday I met the buyer and his family. He again reiterated in the most ardent fashion his desire that my family come and visit as often as we like. I liked him immediately, especially when he and his son discussed buying a goat to keep the pasture clear.

He says he's going to frame the "for sale" sign and hang it in the house. He says he feels like Christmas came early for him, that owning the "Johnson farm" is a dream come true.

And speaking of Christmas, the sale will close in mid-December. Hoo boy! Santa Claus's sleigh is going to be crushed under the weight of "must-haves" that this family needs but has been unable to purchase.

As I bid farewell to my cousin yesterday and started back for the big city, he and I had to agree that some sort of Divine Intervention has occurred. So what if we disagree on the particulars? Something good happened. Everyone is happy!

I will return to my super-snarky dissing of the Dominionists tomorrow. I must say, if any of them are reading this and wishing me to develop boils or bad luck, they're SOL. I'm keeping the key to my farm, and now I won't even have to pay my share of the taxes! La dolce vita.

Oh yeah! I almost forgot! I had some medical tests done, and the doctor said that I might live forever with so much good cholesterol flowing in my veins. His only warning was to not take cell phone calls while driving on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Time To Work

My friends, I will be traveling to Polish Mountain today. On Saturday I will meet the family who will be purchasing the farm. Over the phone they sound too good to be true -- except that I did some Work on the property last spring, so I'm confident it's coming into fruition.

On this Full Moon I bid goodbye to an old era and await a new one. I'm walking on with the Old Ones. May They guide your feet as well.

Anne Johnson

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Talking Sports, Politics, and the Sunshine State (Whew!)

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Busy slate tonight.

1. Rest in peace, Smokin' Joe Frazier. May you find the Summerland. I copyedited my father-in-law's book about you, Ghosts of Manila, and boy, was that an eye-opener! Philly loves you, Joe. We always will.


2. Smokin' Joe's passing is being dwarfed around here by the Penn State scandal. It's a long, ugly story. Apparently, the sainted Joe Paterno knew about child rape going on in his locker room and felt he'd done his civic duty by reporting it to his boss ... once. There's always special outrage reserved for figures of such public eminence who are shown to be, at the core, egg-sucking dogs.

Last weekend, a Penn State victory made Paterno the winningest college football coach of all time. His record beat a long-standing coaching "best" held by the late Eddie Robinson of Grambling State University. There's nothing humble about my opinion in this matter. Robinson should keep his record, and Paterno should be removed from his position, effective two weeks ago. And if the Nittany Lions felt the wrath of the Big Ten before this, they are about to get showered with disapproval far and wide. Deservedly. Shame on you, Joe Pa. Creature.

3. Today was election day. My local assemblyman voted with Chris Christie to make teachers pay more of their health care and pension funding -- money that the state should have been setting aside for its workers lo, these many years. My local assemblyman is a Democrat. So I voted for Sponge Bob. It was fun typing in a write-in.

4. Continuing our purge of the scourge, we turn tonight to the Sunshine State, Florida, home of all things warm and sunny, including teams that beat Penn State. Tonight we're not interviewing a bored deity of the Seminoles or anything like that. We're just going to suggest a tour of Florida from one of its most caustic observers, author Carl Hiaasen.

I am crazy about Carl Hiaasen's books. This is my favorite. I've read it five times. In Carl's world, evil politicians, lobbyists, con artists, and criminals are thwarted by crazy-assed eco-terrorists. In more than one Hiaasen novel, the bad guy gets eaten by buzzards in the end. My kind of fiction!

It's not a reach for me to imagine a world where the 1%, buoyed by Dominionist laws against lewd reading material, would put Carl Hiaasen out of business. If ever there was a writer who inveighs against Big Business, it's my man Carl. The fact that he can do it and make you laugh at the same time is phenomenal.

Hiaasen's take on religion is best seen in his book Lucky You, in which a group of connivers compete to get the most tourists to their Jesus shrines. What's funniest about such things is that you can totally believe them. No one could make up what Hiaasen writes about. He was a reporter for the Miami Herald. I suspect that he saw firsthand much of the idiocy that makes its way into his novels.

Candles lit for Smokin' Joe, tar warming for Paterno Joe, and thumbs up to Carl Hiaasen for showing us how politics works in the Sunshine State!

And I hope Sponge Bob wins in District Six, New Jersey State Assembly.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

The Indifferent Faerie

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Pinky promise that regular dispatches from the front lines will return next week.

This past weekend I went to FaerieCon, a sort of convention thingy like other convention thingies where people with like minds and deep pockets gather to enjoy their mutual interests. I went to FaerieCon mostly to see my peeps from the Spoutwood Fairie Festival (save the date ... May 4, 5, 6, 2012) and to help sit the booth they put up to promote Spoutwood.

It's gratifying work, manning a Spoutwood Fairie Festival booth at a faerie convention about 30 minutes from Spoutwood's location. More than half the people who passed the table had either been to Spoutwood, or knew about it but never had come, or were keenly interested in its nearby location. No hard sell on my end, and Big Red always enjoys seeing the children.

But you know, I have "teacher brain." I call it "teacher brain" because in order to learn the names and key facts about 150 new people every year, you have to let some other cognition slide. In this latest case of "teacher brain," I neglected to note that FaerieCon now has its Good Faerie Ball on Friday night and its Bad Faerie Ball on Saturday night.

I thought I was coming to the Good Faerie Ball, to spend an evening dancing myself to exhaustion. I packed accordingly.

When I arrived at the con, and discovered that I would be seeing QNTAL, a Medieval fusion band, at the Bad Faeries Ball, I was distraught. I've got nothing against QNTAL, they're great, but it's like being told that you're going on a haunted hayride instead of attending the Halloween dance. Both hayrides and dances are swell, but they come with different sets of expectations.

Readers, I did what I could to make my lavender Druid cloak look "bad." Alas, the first con attendee who saw me headed for the Bad Faerie Ball told me, "You don't look bad at all."

Which in many contexts would be a compliment. In this case, not so much.

So I decided to be an Indifferent Faerie. Maybe I'll let the "good" and "bad" in me fight it out for a few days while remaining indifferent. And in the future, I will pay more attention to dates when attending balls, buzzard fests, and bazaars.

The date of the Mummers Parade is easy to remember. But oh, snap! When are those rehearsals?

Friday, November 04, 2011

Free Advice on How To Get Ahead in the World

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" A quick update tonight, and a pinkie promise that we at TGAB will return to our state-by-state disaster repair next week. The creepers from Planet Left Behind are supposedly right here in the Delaware Valley even as I write. Haven't seen them. Sneaky devils, I know they're around. Gonna send Jackal out to patrol.

Tomorrow I venture south to a Fairy convention in Maryland. I've been to these cons before and am not a big fan. It gives me the shivers to see some shadowy outfit (try getting a refund from these people) making money off of faeries. However, many of my friends from the real fairie festival will be there -- so pip pip, I need a road trip!

If you are going to the Fairy convention in Baltimore, you can find me at the Spoutwood Fairie Festival booth, 4-6 on Saturday and 10-12 on Sunday. Notice how I took the hardest times! Mountain Tribe is dedicated.

Postscript: I'm losing the family farm, but must I also lose followers? Number 156, where are you? I can't help it if I can't be witty every day! How about every other Thursday?

Toodle-oo for now,
Anne Johnson, Appalachian emeritus

Thursday, November 03, 2011

My Heart, My Soul, and My Grave

News reached me today that the property I co-own on Polish Mountain has been finalized for sale. Of my six cousins and sister, I was the only one who did not want to sell the farm.

I am no longer Appalachian. I am formerly from Appalachia. Only when I die will I become an Appalachian again.

Primary Colors: Iowa

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," celebrating our freedom to fringe since 1776! Remember, the Vietnam War wasn't lost until the mainstream middle class said it was. Before that, fringe groups opposed it -- but no matter how loud they are, fringe groups rarely influence the large mainstream of ordinary Americans.

We Pagans, and gays, and atheists, and Occupiers, and a bunch of other concerned citizens simply cringed when the moronic Rick Perry looked like a promising presidential candidate. Rick's big confab with all the fringe fundamentalist Christian groups earlier this year sent a collective chill down the spine of those of us in non-mainstream religious practices.

Can you imagine me not being able to worship buzzards in public? Hmmm. Well, actually I keep this little activity pretty private now. But at least I can't be arrested for doing it. Stared at, yes. Persecuted, no.

While the One God for Our Nation fanatics prayed over Governor Rick, the rest of us petitioned the bored gods to do something, and do it in a hurry! This is why the busy god Yahweh is so jealous. He has competition, and when properly petitioned, it surges.

Just two months before the Iowa caucuses, our friend Perry appeared in New Hampshire for a stump speech. Oh my goodness. I have seen people drunk, I've seen them stoned, I've seen them on pain meds, I've seen them ranting in the streets for want of psychiatric treatment. It's really hard to pin down what was happening with the gov that night. Alcohol would have slurred his speech more. Pain meds would have made him more mellow. (Then again, large quantities of opiate painkillers didn't mellow Limbaugh, did they?) Nevertheless, I am ruling out pain meds, and I doubt very seriously that Perry would have dared violate the unreasonable laws against use of weed.

This leaves only two possibilities: He was possessed by Loki, Jackal, Anansi, and other Trickster deities in order to turn him from his destructive path, or

He actually goes into rants that should be treated by a competent physician.

I vote for the first option. All glory, laud, and honor to Trickster deities in every tradition!

Iowa is a pretty mainstream place. Can't see the people there voting for a wackadoo. Can you?

Rick Perry's drunken speech (3 minute edit)

Wednesday, November 02, 2011


I am not dead. I'm not even sick. I left off at Iowa and will resume mop-up soon. All is well, all is well, and all that can be well is well.