Thursday, January 31, 2013

Snow Turkey

Hello, greetings! After almost eight years it might be time to retire the stale old hello that usually pops up at this site.

Imbolc is nigh, and it is my favorite holy day in the calendar. My altar Goddess is Brighid, so She is very important to those quiet moments when I am being serious, grounded and calm. Oh yeah, and She's out and about with me the rest of the time, too, because if She waited for me to be serious, She'd never see me at all!

Today's Sermon: Save for Snow Day, or Roast on Imbolc?

Right after Thanksgiving, the local grocery store offered the leftover fresh turkeys at the unbelievable rate of $.30 a pound. I got a whopping big turkey for less than the price of those silly boneless breasts!

Home I stolled with the monster bird, and I flung it straight into the freezer. Its due date had arrived, after all.

This was maybe the Monday after Thanksgiving. So I told myself I would either roast the turkey on a snow day, or I would roast it on Imbolc if we didn't have a serious snowfall.

We haven't had a serious snowfall. We've recorded one inch, twice, and that's that. Last night it rained like the heavens above were bursting at the seams, but that was rain. Very little snow, for the second year in a row.

I'm ready to thaw out the turkey and shove it in the oven for Imbolc. We can get snow in New Jersey during February and March, but why wait around and see?

In a rare moment of seriousness, I would like to remind everyone that Queen Brighid the Bright is a bored Goddess, and if you pray to Her, She will bless you -- not necessarily with big bucks and vibrant good health, but just with a soothing presence. If you have never called upon Her, this weekend is the time to do it. We should all make Her feel empowered, consequential, and honored. Then She won't be bored, and She won't have to settle for the "St. Brigid" crap that was shoved onto Her by impatient Christian missionaries.

Maybe it's time for an interview! I'll see if the Great Goddess Brighid is available. We can talk turkey.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," bringing you tragic news today ...

There will be no East Coast Vulture Festival in Wenonah this year.

I have not gotten the flurry of emails that I would have gotten in the past. I have not rented the vulture costume. This is a day that no one looked forward to more than me, and it is not to be.

My guess is that the vultures have moved on. Since Spare filmed "Momma Bird," it has been very hard to find the huge flocks of turkey and black vultures that were descending on the town in droves. I think it's that way with vultures. They stay awhile and then they go.

However, just because there's no East Coast Vulture Festival this year doesn't mean that we, yes we, you and I, can't create one!

"The Gods Are Bored" hereby declares Saturday, March 2 East Coast Vulture Day!

Contribute your favorite vulture pictures, stories, or comics to this blog, all to be published on March 2, 2013!

All you have to do is email your submission to   luvbuzzards at yahoo dot-you-know-the-drill. That's me.

We can turn this happy space into a Vulture Day and have some laughs doing it!

Who is with me?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Guest Blogger: The Spare

Well well! I have a day off! Here's a little essay by my daughter, the Spare, with some frank talk about relationships in the under-20 set!  Take it away, Spare!

I’ve been dumped. Maybe there are better ways of phrasing that last

statement. Perhaps this story should be told in a Shakespearean-style

sonnet to amp up the drama and romance, but why exaggerate the

situation when it’s so simple? I’ve been dumped. Dumped like a worn

out pair of tennis shoes.

To put it briefly, Boy is in a committed relationship with Girl A,

but meets Girl B and questions the validity of his committed

relationship. Boy ends his cataclysmic relationship with Girl A and

pursues Girl B. Boy then proceeds to start and end a relationship with

Girl B within the span of one moon cycle, because he realizes his love

for Girl A is undying no matter how unhealthy they are for one

another. Girl B dyes the tips of her hair pink in order to prove she’s

“totally cool” and moving on.

I don’t blame Boy for toying with both of the girls’ emotions. I

blame Girl B for being so naive and determined to make things work

with a guy who couldn’t be more wrong for her. I blame myself. Not

that I’m sitting here hating myself, listening to Nazareth's

heartbreaking ballad “Love Hurts” on repeat whilst finding solace at

the bottom of a gallon of Stephen Colbert’s Americone Dream ice cream

or anything.

This entire experience has showed me how much I have grown in the

past years (mentally of course, because physically, I still have the

body of a 14 -year-old girl). If this whole debacle had happened just

three years ago I would have lost it. In fact, I would

have most likely responded similarly to that of a scorned female lover

in a country song. Now I just grin and bear it. At first I felt a bit

crushed, but then when I got to thinking, I realized how useless it

was to feel any semblance of pain for a guy who was opposite from me

in all ways. If I were the dewy jungle floor, he’d be the cracked and

dessicated desert sand. Nothing about us matched. He hated my favorite

things and I his. I could spend hours talking about how incredible

organisms on the abyssal plane are, while he could spend hours talking

about advances in auto parts technology. Which meant that we spent

hours talking about absolutely nothing, because we bored each other to

no end. So it was no surprise when the tiny spark of our relationship

blew out.

When I was a child, I would spend hours watching movies and

television. It was an easy escape from the scary things in life, the

most horrifying being growing up. I didn’t have my eyes glued to

meaningless crap though. No, I watched far more enlightening programs:

Chick Flicks! I was certain that my life had to mirror that of Reese

Witherspoon’s circa “Sweet Home Alabama,” or just about any Julia

Roberts movie. I’m ashamed to say that only now is it settling in that

my life doesn’t have to be like a movie, especially not like a Chick

Flick, which I now recognize as the foulest creation of anything in

the world of cinema -- only a step above Pauly Shore films. I will

never be the leading lady of my own little Rom-Com, because those

women don’t exist in the real world. In the real world you’re lucky if

you can find someone who you can have an awkward silence with and

revel in it, something I could never have with Boy.

Now, for what feels like the first time in a decade, I’m without

someone holding onto my heart. In an attempt to create the picturesque

life, I let myself go from guy to guy whether it was a meaningless

crush, a foolish infatuation, or a full-fledged squeeze. I got

hurt many times and undoubtedly hurt others. I let people, like Boy,

use me and used

other people to make myself feel like a complete person. All for the

sole reason that the television told me that in order to be a whole

person I had to have a significant other. However, who gets to define

what a significant other is? Almost everyone close to me is

significant. So wouldn’t that make me one super omnipowerful mega

complete person? Probably not, but regardless, with all the friends

and family members that make such an incredible impact on my life, why

should I be so inclined to forge a relationship that I will settle for

someone who is my anti-soul mate? As I consider all these things I

can’t help but be happy that I’m “alone.”

While I probably made very little impact in Boy’s life, he made a

massive one in mine. Perhaps all it took for me to have this epiphany

was maturity and a small touch of heartache. I’m feeling driven and

stronger than I have ever felt in my life and maybe that is cliche to

say, but sometimes in order to grow in life you have to be cliche.

Yeah, I’ve been dumped, but so what? I like to trash pick.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Where Snow Is the Big Story

 Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Baby, it's cold outside! And inside too. I'm not pouring money into heating this drafty, big old house. That's what sweatshirts are for.


I've never gotten over the hoo hah about snow here in Great Blue New Jersey and it's nearby city, Philadelphia. If the forecast calls for a dusting of snow, it's the lead story on every news channel for two days. The minute a flake flies, everything grinds to a halt.

You would think this is South Carolina or something, the way they take on about wintry precipitation.

Every few years we get a whopper of a blizzard, sort of like Hurricane Sandy except snow and far less flooding. I can see the reasoning behind doing some serious reporting about such an event as this. (Although they usually get the snow totals wrong anyway.) Yesterday we got a little Alberta Clipper, and for all intents and purposes regarding the television and radio media, the world was coming to an end.

If you walk outside in the morning to find a little dusting of snow on your car, rest assured you don't live in Philadelphia. A dusting of snow is cataclysmic.

Why am I ranting about this? Well, you see, I like snow. I've always liked snow. The more the better. when I lived in Detroit, I was in hog heaven. Therefore it is exceedingly annoying when the weather forecasters start bleating about a snowstorm days in advance, and then it either doesn't materialize, or it lightly dusts the ground.

Don't worry. You don't need to navigate the stupid captcha thing to give me free advice. I'm boycotting news radio until spring. The reality is that we don't get much snow here in southern New Jersey, and that's that. All the hype in the world won't turn anything white.

Have an ice day!


Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Unfair Interference of Meng Po

You know what's really unfair? Certain deities mess with you whether you want them to or not. I'm not the only one who has issues with this. Look at poor Odysseus! Make a little progress, get smacked down. Sheesh.

Last night my daughter The Spare phoned me with a few short questions about the year in which she was born. After the personal stuff, like her particular birth (which I pretty much remember), she started asking other questions. What was going on politically? Were there any inventions? Advances in science? What was the popular music of the time?

beep beep beep beep beep! Alarm in Anne's brain!

I couldn't remember anything at all about 1994 except that The Spare was born. I used to take her with me to the public library when I was doing my research for my job. The janitor there called her "Library Baby."

So, there's 1994 for you. Library Baby was born.

This can only be the nefarious work of the bored Goddess Meng Po, whose duty it is to wipe our memories clean after death so that we can be reincarnated and start making stupid mistakes all over again.

I would put in a phone call to the Chinese Underworld, but I can't remember the number. And the Goddess What's Her Name is hard to get hold of anyway, because there are so many people being reincarnated all at once. I think.

What pantheon are we talking about here? Oh! Chinese! I dimly remember something about a wall.

Did I say that it's not fair when deities make life difficult for you while you're still on this side of the veil? Aren't we, as fallible mortals, more than capable of screwing up ourselves?

But honestly, I cannot think of a single other reason why I cannot recall one single song from a whole year, or whether or not Mr. J had already begun selling books on Ebay.

Yikes! I can't even recall a memorable vulture sighting from that era!

Someone tell Goddess Whozit to restore my memory! I look back through the mists of my life and see ... not a whole lot.

Of course, maybe She was aided and abetted by ... mmmmm ... what is it? That stuff you drink that makes you giggle.

Why am I writing this?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Inauguration 2013

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Politics and religion make strange bedfellows. But all too often, there they are, trying to sleep together. Never works, does it? They kick each other under the covers.

I remember the first time President Obama was inaugurated. Everything ground to a halt in this school where I teach. We were all so excited about the new era we were going to have in this country. It seemed personified by the dynamic young African American man who stood poised to lead the way.

So, four years later, I went to the thrift store instead of watching the inauguration. Before you jump all over me, let's look at Chateau Johnson and see if the previous four years have brought change we believe in:

1. Mr. J has taken pay cuts and has been forced to take a furlough week each year.  His union is currently being asked to take a 20 percent pay cut. It will probably be negotiated down to 15 percent. By October he won't even have a union.

2. One daughter has finished college. Our monthly tuition payments for her hovered around $800.00. She is now $25,000 in debt -- or, basically, the price of a car she cannot afford to buy. She has a part-time job, which is better than her friends, who are mostly unemployed or working in such prime locations as South Korea.

3. At the beginning of January, both Mr. J and I lost a combined $120 or more in additional weekly taxes. I thought those tax increases were only going to be on the rich.

4. Another daughter in college -- payments $900 a month. Not sure about her loans yet.

5. More money for health care. This year 4 percent of salary, next year 6 percent of salary.

6. I've been working without a contract since 2011; hence, no raise in pay. My salary has declined.

7. Tonight Snobville residents are being asked to vote on the construction of artificial turf fields, with parking, as an annual addition of $190 to the yearly-escalating property tax. Ready for this, readers? My property taxes are almost $12,000 a year. If they don't hit that sweet spot this year, they will shortly.

So you'll forgive me if I skipped the platitudes about how wonderful this nation is. This nation should be three or four nations. It's too big to govern, and the political schisms cause legislative gridlock. The leader who seemed so promising four years ago just looks like another name on a plaque.

Why did I go to the thrift store? I've lost so much weight from worry that my clothes don't fit me anymore. Another pound this week! It was half price day at the thrift store, and I got a pair of jeans. Change I can believe in.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

13 minute vent

I have influenza. It sucks.

I've been sitting around covered with a blanket for three days and don't feel much better.

I made some doctor appointments just because I had some time on my hands.

One of the doctors has gone online. It took me 45 minutes to fill out their online form.

Thus using up the battery on my netbook.

I don't like online medicine. Not at all. When it comes to saying, "AHHHHH," I should not need a freaking password with at least one number and one #$@#@$@#$#$.

LOW BATTERY. @#$#@$!!!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Boxing without Referee: Promised Land

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," proudly replacing Roger Ebert as the premiere film reviewer of modern America! Why, yes, film-goer! About twice a year you can come to this site and find a fabulous movie to attend. Or not.

A few weeks ago I went to see "Lincoln." The theater was crowded, and the sound was so low I was worried that I was losing my hearing. But I digress. Before the showing of "Lincoln," one of the eight previews was for a film called "Promised Land." If Hal Holbrook and that cute guy from "Office" are in it, and it's filmed in Pennsylvania, and it's about fracking, I'll suffer through Matt Damon.

Last night Mr. J and I went to see "Promised Land." And take it from someone who despises the entire idea of hydraulic fracturing of Marcellus Shale in rural areas of Pennsylvania: This film stinks.

They say that the documentary "Gas Land" is slanted. Well, there's slanted, and there's horizontal. I don't think I have ever sat through a more poorly-acted, completely unbalanced, and shamelessly overdone piece of propaganda -- and I vividly remember Mel Gibson in "The River."

Mr. J and I would have been better served to stay home and watch the "Pawn Stars" marathon.

I'm going to spoil this movie rotten so you won't waste your precious ducats on it. Matt Damon and Frances McDormand are two egg-sucking corporate scoundrels sent into a bucolic hamlet somewhere in a part of Pennsylvania that looks absolutely nothing like the many parts of Pennsylvania I've seen. Must be in the north somewhere. It's their job to sign up dumb yokels (if it's rural, there have to be yokels, right?) for rights to frack the land.

Enter the noble Hal Holbrook who, in this film, has all kinds of fancy engineering degrees from places like Columbia and Yale. Except now, doddering though he is, he's teaching science at the run-down high school. Noble Hal leads a group of stalwart farmers who cleave to the land ... and urges some kind of "vote" on the issue.

Then enters the young cutie from "The Office." As befits a blogger, I know that his name is John Krazinski because I just asked Spare, but she couldn't spell it off the top of her head, so. Okay. This is a blog. Spelling doesn't count.

John is an environmentalist who has a small little outfit called "Athena." (Readers, trust me on this. Athena did not sign off on this use of Her name.) He takes some hush money from ravenous Matt and Frances, and then he uses it to make signs with dead cows. "Say No to Global."

Ah, "Global." The New World Order come to wreck the Pennsylvania hinterlands.

Spoiler non-alert. John the environmentalist turns out to be yet another pawn in the game of life, sent by Global Gas Galacticus, LL.C. to support clueless Matt and Frances in a sneaky way. In the end, Matt turns hero and tells the town to vote down gas drilling. Exit into sunset with a local gal who came home to her beloved family farm.

For my money, even this gal's farm vista didn't do Pennsylvania proud. Where was this turkey filmed?

Fracking is very controversial, and there are plenty of Pennsylvanians already who gladly go to hearings and lectures to show pictures of their wasteland properties and tell stories of their personal woes. There are also economists who use their economist smartness to show that all the jobs being promised to rural areas are temporary in nature: Once the wells are drilled, the drillers move on. Evidence is abundant and growing to prove that the process is faulty and extremely poisonous even on its good days.

(When a couple of gas company geeks tried to hold a Town Hall meeting in the township where my dear former farm was located, they drew a standing-room, well-informed crowd who promptly booed their PowerPoint presentation and told them to toddle. There will be no fracking in or near Artemas, PA 17211.)

So, why would presumably smart actors like Matt Damon, Frances McDormand, and Hal Holbrook sign up for such a piss-poor two hours of treacle? How can you make a film about fracking without a single shot of a gas pipeline or drilling rig? There are plenty in Pennsy just now.

I dunno. But viewer, if you drop your ducats on this flop, be forewarned. It's you that's the chump, not the poor yokels of Who-Knows-Where, PA.

The proof is in the producing. "Promised Land" was financed by Imagenation Abu Dhabi. Like, seriously. I am not making this up. Even the Joker and the Penguin aren't this duplicitous.

So a movie bashing fracking, and doing so with a monumental propagandizing stupidity, was financed by our finest supplier of overseas crude oil. Priceless.

I'm surprised Massey Coal didn't send in a stipend.

Long sermon short, it's always refreshing to see one despoiler of the environment try to knock off another despoiler of the environment. Free advice? Use less energy, beginning with saving the gas it would take you to drive to the theater to see "Promised Land."

Friday, January 11, 2013

Worried Sick

Some things are so ancient that we forget why and how they came about. One of these things, I think, must be the concept of being "worried sick."

When you're "worried sick" about something, or more than one thing, you lose your appetite. In the worst cases, you just can't eat at all. I've experienced a great deal of this over the past six months, and it is now moving into a new year with the pangs still firmly in place.

Could there be a reason, known to the bored gods but not the busy one, why people worry themselves sick?

Imagine that the tribe has fallen upon hard times, and there's not enough food for your children. Perhaps you're insecure because your loved ones are dying, or being killed, or deserting. It makes sense, in this situation, for you to shut down your own metabolism so that your offspring will have more resources at their disposal.

This is psychologically-based, of course. Logic would dictate that you remain powerful by eating and exercising and getting lots of sleep ... the better to help your tribe. But self-sacrifice is also logical. It's logical and admired.

Many religions have periods of fasting and feasting. When times are bad, the fasts last longer and the feasts are cancelled or scaled back. I've polled the bored gods, and they say that they are every bit as impressed by people who fast and deprive themselves as they are by people who chow down and throw big parties.

People who don't worry themselves sick will tell you that such worry shortens your life. Yes, I imagine that it does. But in the Old Days, you would have been more willing to get out of the way for the next generation, if the going was tough. At least that's how I look at it.

This cheerful little essay has no uplifting message or happy zinger at the end of it. I know I shouldn't worry myself sick. I just wish I knew how to put the brakes on it. Maybe you can suggest a good bored deity for such issues?

Monday, January 07, 2013

Free Advice on Dating and Other Matters of Love

Look here. I'm not complaining. In fact, I'm quietly happy. But it still is baffling. Perhaps the work of a jealous bored Goddess.

My two beautiful daughters are unlucky in love.

Spare had attracted the attention of a young lad she met during her first term in college. I figured she would be dating seriously by this time in her college career, seeing as how she hadn't had a real boyfriend since early high school.

Wouldn't you know. She had one formal date with the lad, and two days later he has given her the gentle heave-ho.

Well, there you are. I mean to say, this is not such bad news for a parent who is shelling out ducats on college tuition. However, to Spare it is distressing. I had to pull her bodily out of the kitchen before she began to rage-cook a turkey dinner.

No daughter wants to hear from her mom that the best of all possible worlds is to work hard and make a place for yourself in the world before you turn a batting eyelash upon a likely lad. But that is the free parental advice I dole out to both of my young daughters.

This is the boring kind of blah blah blah you can expect from a mother. Goes in one ear, out the other.

Spare has gone to the home of a chum to bury herself in Chinese food and talk down the opposite gender. I'm sitting here with my dear cat, Alpha, who -- after giving us a holiday scare -- seems to have come back into her wits.

It can't hurt to ask a cat for dating advice. Why not? Alpha was towing a kitten through the dumpster when she was rescued by a crazy cat lady.

Anne: Alpha. What's your advice for finding true love?

Alpha: Don't think about it at all until you go into heat. Then, any tomcat will do.

Ahem. Thanks, Alpha. Sound advice ... if you're a cat. I'm glad I asked you, and not Spare!

Free advice on matters of love? Spay or neuter your pet.

Have a nice day!

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Transcendental Mummitation

Don't know about you, but I just can't meditate. They say nervous people have trouble meditating, and I'm nervous. I've tried many times, with various praise and worship options, to meditate quietly for transcendant purposes. Epic fail.

This doesn't mean that I can't have moments of transcendance. There are whole, wonderful varieties of meditation that are simply great for nervous people. You totally leave yourself behind and completely live in the moment -- joyous and at peace.

If you don't think that dressing up in a very fancy costume and dancing, wildly, to bring joy and awe to others is meditation, well. Who the heck are you, and what closet have you been hiding in?

All the best and brightest deities, including the Busy God, include singing and dancing in Their rituals. Archeologists have found unspeakably ancient flutes carved from animal horns. And let me tell you from a vast trove of personal experience: You can make almost anything into a drum. You don't even need a "thing" in the first place! You can snap your fingers or pat your lap with your hands!

(Don't get me started on tap dancing. It's drumming with your feet, and I know how to do it.)

I respectfully submit that, for every person who has sat quietly, grounded, centered, and breathing, there is a person who has leaped around laughing and singing and winding up with the same results. Just as there is more than one route between Detroit and Tampa, there is more than one route to transcendance.

Oh, I am boing myself to tears here! Come on, ladies, let's strut!

It is simply wonderful to strut up Philadelphia's Broad Street on New Year's morning, dancing with spectators and flinging beads to wide-eyed tots. There's a sense of camaraderie within your group, and a feeling of oneness with the people on the sidewalk.

All of this preaching stems from the fact that I can't yet find a YouTube of our Two Street Stompers Comic Brigade 2013 routine. I'll fling it up here as soon as I can. I may fling a few more routines from other clubs at you as well, because the whole idea is to get you laughing.

Laugh. Dance. Strut. Shine. This is pleasing to the deities, bored and otherwise!

(PS - If you are a calm and quiet person, this means of transcendental meditation might be an epic fail for you. Free advice to you? Ground, center, breathe.)