Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Ancient Worry

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Did you know that we share a common ancestor? Yes, readers, all of us share a common ancestor, maybe as recently as 50,000 years ago -- certainly not much more than 100,000 years ago. This makes us siblings, practically ... especially if you compare us to horseshoe crabs or trilobites.

You can argue with me if you want to about Great-to-the-nth-power Granny, but I'll bet she was a worrier.

If you've got a dozen kids or so, all of you living on the African plains (or even elsewhere, most places were much wilder then), you're going to be worried about:
1. lions
2. food
3. rivals
4. children's safety

Look at us, just a geological blip later! We have eliminated one, exactly one, object of anxiety from that list! The rest are still rocking on. Oh, you might say you're worried about losing your job, but the underlying and very real anxiety is starving.  Rivals? You don't have any in your life? Lucky you, but I still wouldn't turn my back on the wrong acquaintance. Machiavelli isn't even a blip from your doorstep.

If you don't worry about your children's safety, exit "The Gods Are Bored" immediately and go play in traffic.

Me, I'm a worrier. Have always been, will always be. When I was a kid, I used to have dreams about being devoured by lions. No doubt I was channeling Great-to-the-nth, as above.

People will give you a handbasket full of strategies for dealing with worry, including some very nice pharmaceuticals that I highly recommend ... after all, this is the modern era, no use wringing our hands like Great-to-the-nth.

Worry can also be taken to the bored gods. This is where They are so helpful to know, because you can always find one to fit your particular brand of anxiety. If you're suffering from unexpressed anger, a Warrior Goddess can kick butt for you. If you're anxious about that pesky young adult offspring who will walk about Philadelphia at night, there are dozens of Goddesses who will walk by her side. All you have to do is put your faith in Them. Don't pay attention to the unanswered prayers that the followers of the busy god are complaining about all the time! Bored deities deliver. What else do They have to do?

I'm trying to turn my issues over to the long-lost deities who hang about my Shrine of the Mists. My biggest challenge is to keep malice and bitterness out of the equation, and just let the deities sort things out in their pre-recorded-history way.

It's uplifting to take your troubles to a bored deity, not knowing how that deity handled such things back in the day. Like a celestial open-ended question.

"Dear Goddess, please do whatever you did in bygone times, and then report back to me, or not, as You please. And thank You for not judging me because I worry. Appreciate it."

Gosh, this is suspiciously like free advice. So I guess, in the spirit of the economic times, I'll have to pay you for taking it. Text me.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Weighing in on SOPA and PIPA

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," the sole intellectual property of me, Anne Johnson! If you quote more than ten percent of this post, I am going to tell the government I've been ripped off, and they'll shut down Google.

Well, I don't know. That seems pretty extreme to me, but this is what I hear through the grapevine, i.e., the Internet. There's some legislation about intellectual property that could have far-reaching implications for our "business as usual" here in cyberspace.

Theft of intellectual property is no laughing matter, because people do work hard on music, art, books, newspaper articles, films, all the rest. And when consumers are able to re-use or enjoy that work without compensating the artist, it does lead to more starvation in garrets.

 In the case of newspapers, they just didn't think quickly enough. Instead of banding together, throwing up firewalls, and charging for their content, they opened web sites that essentially provide the product for free. But in the 1990s, newspapers couldn't see into the future any more than Kanye could. If you give people access to something like the Internet, they're going to use their imaginations to make it work best for them. Which means, they're going to look for ways to get bang for their buck, or freebies when freebies can be had.

You will excuse me if I feel no sympathy for the film industry. Is it my fault that they spare no expense with their special effects? I don't go online looking for free films, but I also shed no tears for Big Entertainment. The rest of us are tightening our belts. Disney, don't come crying to me.

What concerns me about the online policing that SOPA and PIPA represent is the chilling effect it could have on freedom of speech. I wonder if we would see college students getting pepper-sprayed during Occupy. Our government is already herding journalists into cattle chutes, keeping them as distant from the front as possible -- whether it's in Afghanistan or Berkeley. Enter the People with their phones. (Alas, I'm not one of the People. My phone doesn't do film, and I wouldn't know how to work it if it did.)

Like it or not, the Internet has changed our world forever, and it has done so in a jiffy. It's going to keep doing so in the future, in even more of a jiffy. And it will have its downside, probably eventually fatal to millions of people -- because from my point of view (admittedly bleak), this is the way history tends after any big innovation.

In the meantime, we at "The Gods Are Bored" just want a little space to praise and worship Those who know best what any sea change can bring: forgotten Gods and Goddesses from the deep mists of time. They listen. They act. Be careful what you wish for.

But I think you're on safe ground wishing for a free and uncensored Internet. The Gods I see are so desperate for recognition that They check every search engine looking for any sign that They might be re-discovered.

I'm Anne Johnson ... always and forever Anne Johnson ... and I approve this message.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

When Abortion, Mormons, and Gay Marriage Are All That Matters

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" It's 2012, the Apocalypse year! Well, another Apocalypse year anyway. If we had experienced all the Apocalypses we have been promised over time, only the buzzards would remain. Therefore we forge ahead with the slow attrition that comes to any capitalist society where greed is not curbed by common sense.

I would be rejoicing over the choices of moron offered in the Iowa caucuses if I had any faith in our sitting president. Alas, it took less than four years for all of his platitudes to lose their hot air -- and his decision to waive habeus corpus for anyone deemed a "terrorist" is the most dictatorial move by a president since there was a real war going on right in our nation. The last president to decree arrests and detentions without charges or rights was ... drum roll ... Abraham Lincoln. Times were a bit different then, and it still wasn't right.

Oh well, la di dah, the message is clear: You Occupy, you die. No more wasted pepper spray. Hey, how do you think they got things done in Argentina?

Meanwhile, the Republicans are duking it out over the really, really, really important national issues: abortion, gay rights, and prayer in schools. How else could we possibly have experienced the re-emergence of Rick Santorum, a moron of such epic stupidity that his IQ has to be tested with the hamster scale? Chimps leave him in the dust.

If you've never heard of Rick Santorum, you haven't been here at TGAB very long. I've written more "moron par excellence" rants about him than any other hominid. (Using the word hominid rather reluctantly here.)

In the not-so-distant past, Rick was one of the U.S. Senators from Pennsylvania. Until some intrepid reporter got the idea to go visit the address Rick listed for himself and his family in some blue-collar locale in the western part of the state. Turned out Ricky and his large, home-schooled brood had decamped for suburban Virginia, where they were living in a lavish home, rather beyond the income level of an honest senator. He hadn't even bothered to hire someone to cut the grass at the old Pennsylvania homestead -- that's how he was nabbed.

Rick got trounced in his re-election bid. He is still living in Virginia.

The only people who like this guy are the same vote-splitting dingbats who were flocking to Rick Perry until he opened his mouth. Santorum is slightly more able to converse than Perry, but hardly the man to lead a large and diverse nation with severe economic difficulties and tense situations in several parts of the globe. Leadership? Rick Santorum couldn't guide rats through a maze if you spotted him the cheese.

I wonder what people in other parts of the world think of us. I think we look ridiculous, and I live here.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

The Lords and Ladies and Wenches of Misrule

I was in the Mummer's Parade. It was a Saturnalia of the first stripe (at least our portion of the parade was). I felt like I was participating in something ancient, very ancient, a rebellion against rules, and propriety, and decency, and the powers-that-be. The weather was beautiful. I spent more than half the day dancing in the sunlight, surrounded by people who know how to have fun.

The official t.v. camera did not catch our whole act, but in the clip below, if you don't blink, at 19 minutes you'll see a German barmaid in blond braids run past, smiling up a storm. Guess who?

Happy 2012! I don't have to say "Long Live Misrule." It will.

Two street stompers 2012 mummers

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Misrule Triumphant

It is without a single jot of humility that I announce that the 2012 Comic Brigade Champion in the Philadelphia Mummers Parade is ... the TWO STREET STOMPERS!

We won.