Saturday, December 31, 2016

Using the Old To Ring in the New

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where nothing is new under the Sun ... except the year, which turns over every 365 days (and sometimes 366).

Does it seem at all weird to you that adult folks of both genders would dress up in odd clothing and go wandering around on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day? Well gosh, I doubt if there's anything more ancient than dressing up in costumes, except maybe singing and drumming.

Actually I put this question to some extremely, extremely bored deities, and They told me that putting on masks is something that people have been doing for 20,000 years. Imagine that! No, wait. Why would that be hard to imagine?

When we put on masks, costumes, or odd clothing, to parade from house to house, or from street to street, we are removing ourselves from ... well, from ourselves. For one short moment in time, we're someone else, or at least we have license to behave like someone else. This is powerful stuff. Make no mistake, this is some ancient and holy behavior.

The tradition known as "Mumming" comes from Ireland. It is also found in Newfoundland. The scrappy little city of Hagerstown, Maryland has a Mummers Parade every year on Halloween. Irish Mummers were known to go from door to door, in costume. They weren't exactly mum -- they would sing songs or recite rhymes. The tradition is associated with the solstice, but for me it's not a reach to imagine that it was also possibly practiced at Halloween, which after all is the Celtic New Year.

EXHIBIT A: Anne at Philadelphia Mummer's Parade, on Right, and It Was Cold AF That Year

The city of Philadelphia has been holding a Mummer's Parade for more than 100 years. In their wisdom, the Town Fathers of yesteryear decided that having a parade would be a good way to cut down on drunken, rowdy behavior at the New Year. Well ... yes, and no. You see, the costumes give us license to be rowdy. They just do. It's organized rowdiness, but when you get 30,000 people involved in something, in costume, you are going to get some mayhem.

The Philadelphia Mummers also have a storied tradition of political incorrectness. This I will not deny. The parade judges had to outlaw blackface (way before my time), and last year a club got all kinds of heat for doing a Mexican theme in brownface. (Personally I thought it was a warm nod to Mexico, not at all nasty ... but the snobby Vaudvillains begged to differ.) My club doesn't go in for political incorrectness, but we do blur the line for what passes for "family entertainment." Yeah, some years that line is wayyyyy blurry. Okay, refer to the above. Can we get out of ourselves for a day? Can we be outrageous without offending any racial group or hurting anyone physically? Yes, we do it all the time.

Our routine this year features George Washington and Lord Cornwallis facing off in a dance contest, doing the whip and nae nae. If you don't think that's funny, you might be on the wrong blog. There's nothing I would rather do at this very moment in time than mock our nation's rocky birth pangs.

As I write this on New Year's Eve, I would be remiss if I didn't note that I have lacked energy for a few months now, and especially since the election. This morning I bustled around, assembling my Under Armor, Mardi Gras beads (red, white, and blue), and foot warmers. Then, suddenly, I felt like moving. I stacked firewood for an hour and did yard work for another hour. Wow, a body in motion!

If the Philadelphia Mummers Parade makes me a body in motion, I can't be anything but grateful. It's a comfort to know that I can leap outside myself, shake and shimmy, and put all that real stuff away for a day.

There's a link in the post below for a live stream of the 2017 parade. My club will be performing for the judges some time between 10:00 and noon, EST. After that you get a whole afternoon of amazing string bands. Their routines, costumes, and props are amazing.

Oh yeah, one more thing: We Mummers don't call our costumes by that name. They are suits, or dresses.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Two Parades This Year -- The Fun One is First

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," home of a proud Philadelphia Mummer!

EXHIBIT A: Anne and Spare, Philadelphia Mummers Parade 2016

Here I am last year on Broad Street, starting the year with a smile and a parasol!

EXHIBIT B: The Two Street Stompers

This is my club, the Two Street Stompers. I think this is 2014. I'm in the front row, standing.

I'm now in my fifth parade as a Two Street Stomper. Before joining the Stompers, I spent more than two decades sitting in an easy chair, watching the parade on New Year's Day. Finally I decided to get up off my keister and join the fun. Best decision I ever made!

I was really fortunate to find the Two Street Stompers. I tried to join a club called the Vaudvillains, but they weren't accepting new members. As you can see from the above photo, the Stompers don't have a problem with new members. It's a parade! The more the merrier! And boy, are these folks fun and nice! You can't argue with grown men willing to brave January chills in shiny gold tutus.

I've made a new close friend from being in the Stompers. It's never too late to make new friends, either.

EXHIBIT C: Anne's new friend, Buzz!

That's Buzz on the left. The photo says it all. You four readers who know me, doesn't he look like someone who would make a good friend for Anne? (Oh, wait! One of the four readers is Buzz. Well, Buzz, what do you think?)

The irony of having a friend named Buzz has not escaped me.

I must admit, my heart is heavy and my spirits are low this year. But damn it, I'm saving that angst for the next parade I'm going to be in, a mere three weeks from this one. Right now, this very minute, it's a new year, I live in Philadelphia, and I'm part of a proud tradition. I am a Mummer.

You can live stream the whole 8-hour parade here, beginning at 9:00 on New Year's Day.

And now please excuse me while I spray a fresh coat of gold paint onto my sneakers. Every Mummer must have golden slippers!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Don't Use Your Phone in the Movie Theater

One of the oldest and most popular features of "The Gods Are Bored" is free advice. I've been doling out free advice for 12 years and sometimes even paying you to take it.

Today's free advice: Don't use your phone for any reason during a feature film in a movie theater.

If you do, you just might be sitting in an early showing of Rogue One, and you just might get a text that says, "Carrie Fisher died" during the first ten minutes of the film.

Then, by the end of the film, you might be weeping openly, throwing yourself on your seat mate, and limping out into the lobby wearing sunglasses.

So, do yourself a favor. When you go to see a movie, turn that phone off and don't dare to look at it until you are safely back in your automobile. The face you save could be your own.

Carrie Fisher: May she have found the Summer Lands. May the Goddess guide her. May she know peace.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Illuminati Reject Donald Trump Again, Say Presidency Changes Nothing

Let me be up front about this. I might be in the Illuminati. I can't tell you for sure, because it's against the rules to disclose membership. The closest I can get is to tell you who isn't in the Illuminati, and who will never be, and why.

Long story short, Donald Trump has been trying to join the Illuminati since 1983. His requests have been repeatedly rebuffed. No amount of bribe money has swayed the membership to accept him. And oh, has he tried to bribe his way in! Golf courses, private islands, mansions, penthouses in Manhattan -- none of that has mattered to the Illuminati. That kind of stuff bores them. It's so corporeal.

Mind you, I haven't always agreed with every decision the Illuminati makes. Take Tupac, for example. It's all well and good that his work finds its way into other deserving hands, but no one can deliver Tupac's lyrics like he can ... uh ..... could. I mean, could. Terrible tragedy. Terrible!

So. No surprises here. On November 9, Donald Trump renewed his full-court press to be elected to the Illuminati. He sends all his requests through his personal physician, who isn't Illuminati but tries to look like one. See, Donald's dubiously capable doctor studied extensively under Timothy Leary, who was indeed highly placed in the Illuminati. Donald's doctor knows people in the Illuminati, but they don't want that guy, either. Some places, it doesn't matter who you know.

It's not like the Illuminati takes only wealthy and influential people. They're not about that stuff at all. Try explaining that to Donald Trump. He hates the very idea that there's any club other than the Democratic Party that won't take him in.

But that's just it. The Illuminati is not just any club. It's the club. If you ain't worthy of the astral plane, brother, you ain't gonna get a phone call, no matter how often you beg and plead.

You didn't hear this from me, okay?

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Thorny Problem of Inauguration Entertainment Solved

I suppose you've heard: No one wants to perform for Donald Trump's inauguration. Even stone-cold rednecks like Garth Brooks are reluctant to whoop and holler for this president-to-be. Not a single high school band from Washington, DC, Maryland, or Northern Virginia has applied for a place in the parade.

January 20 is shaping up to be a dull damn day.

Fortunately, Donald Trump reached out to me. I'm only too glad to help him find talent. (He has none of his own, so he particularly needs assistance.)

You just have to be creative about these things. In a jiffy, I signed a top-notch act for Donald.

Yes! This is the original Alvin and the Chipmunks, now working for eBay as goodwill ambassadors! They said they will be only too glad to sing at the inauguration, would it be too late for their memorable little Christmas carol?

I told them that's exactly what I want them to sing! Maybe two or three rounds of it. I'll bet if you are reading this (I'm back down to 4 readers), the song is already running through your head.

You'll notice Dave isn't with the chipmunks. Turns out he's a Bernie bro.

I'm also in negotiations with the All-Wisconsin Musical Saw Orchestra. There are some Homeland Security issues, sadly. Isn't it tragic how no one trusts anyone anymore? I mean, really. Musical saws? Oh well, no big deal. Turns out more than half of the members voted for Hillary Clinton.

Keep checking here at "The Gods Are Bored" for more updates on January 20, and for intimate views of the festivities on January 21, too. I'm your voice in the streets. Your source for breaking news. Your own little chipmunk, on the radio, when you're stuck in traffic. And I want a hula hoop.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Donald Trump's Vitamin Deficiency

Hi there, and welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" My name is Anne Johnson (really and truly), and you can consider me a primary source on all things Donald Trump!

I know you're skeptical about that, but hey ... check how long this blog has been in existence, and you'll see that I have a metric ton of credibility!

This is why I have chosen today to talk about a tricky little subject: Donald Trump's vitamin deficiency.

I have it on very good authority (Marla Maples), that Donald Trump suffers from biotin deficiency. Look at the symptoms:

Now, you might say, "Anne, the man looks great for his advanced age!" And you would be right. But did you ever ask yourself how he can pull that off? Makeup artists, of course! He spends more time in the chair every morning than his lovely wife. (They do use the same artist, though.)

People get biotin deficiencies by eating raw eggs. Ask anyone, and they will tell you: Ever since Donald Trump saw the first Rocky movie at age 28, he has been drinking a half dozen raw eggs every morning, just like his hero, Rocky.

Now you're asking, "Hasn't anyone told Donald Trump that consuming raw eggs is bad for him?" Of course, readers. Of course! Everyone tells him that consuming six raw eggs every morning is the reason he's bald, hallucinating, and tingly, with red, oozing eye sores. He doesn't listen. In fact, my source (Marla Maples) tells me that if you even bring it up, he jumps down your throat and/or whacks you with a rolled-up newspaper, depending on your position in his hierarchy.

So, you heard it here first: Donald Trump is biotin deficient. But if you don't believe me, look it up. Why would you do that, though? You're a smart person, and very busy.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Alban Arthan 2016

Oh, these dark and dreary days! Is it any wonder we cover the front of our houses with lights and bring trees inside as if to keep them from freezing?

Alban Arthan is upon us.

Alban Arthan is the Welsh name for the winter solstice festival. It's all about the Light -- getting it back and powering up for some big work ahead.

Alban Arthan sometimes relates to King Arthur, who lies asleep in his mountain, waiting for a day when he will be needed again to re-establish peace in a warring kingdom. It also refers to the Great Bear, that constellation that always shows us the North.

This year I'm thinking more about King Arthur. I will call upon him to arise.

Maybe he will, maybe he won't. Either way, I have to be willing to become a keeper of Excalibur myself.

We are entering a period of great national (and by extention, international) peril. Everything we have come to count on is now at risk. Being a woman of a certain age, with grown children who no longer need me for survival, I have to be willing to do my part to fight back against the Darkness.

Are you with me on this?

I don't even know what I will be asked to do in the coming years. I do know it will be uncomfortable, expensive, time-consuming, and perhaps fruitless. Nevertheless, it must be done. This evil man, and the evil men and women he is promoting into power, can only get the momentum to wreak havoc if all the people who oppose and disdain him sit back and watch the train wreck.

So this year, on Alban Arthan, I will heed a call to action. The barbarians are no longer at the gates. They are in the halls of power. I will not bend my knee to them, oh no, not me. Where's my sword?

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

I Love The Bard!

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," serving all bored deities who are lost to the mists of time! Modern isn't always better, you know.

Speaking of modern not being better ... is there anyone more fabulous than Shakespeare? I teach Romeo and Juliet every year, and 400 years down the line, it's still a fan favorite. My students love it.

Shakespeare has power by the hour, but he's also fine with a line. I was looking over some quotes the other day, and I found this one from Measure for Measure:

"But man, proud man,
Dress'd in a little brief authority,
Most ignorant of what he's most assured,
His glassy essence, like an angry ape,
Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven
As make the angels weep."

By all the bored gods, Willie the Shake is KING. It will probably take me two days to memorize this.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The D Word

There are a few places in America where you inevitably have to go. Everyone has to go, they have no choice in the matter.

One of those places is a court of justice for jury duty. The other is the Department of Motor Vehicles.

The two institutions are tied together, of course. You go to one, you're going to get called to the other.

I've had my share of adventures in both venues. The last time I had jury duty (it's always petit, and it's always Camden) I got called for a murder trial in which the defendant was African American and the victim African American. While on a break outside the selection room, I heard a young white guy in a Budweiser baseball cap say, "I hate n*****. They'll never put me on that jury." At the time I was standing with an African American man in a crisp suit who said, "I work for the government in a classsified manner. I have to be in Tokyo tomorrow morning. They'll never put me on that jury." There was also a creaky old lady I recognized from Snobville standing there with us. She was the one who wound up on the jury.

Have you ever looked around at a jury room or at the DMV? That's where you see the total cross section of America.No one can send someone else to get their driver's license. And so they come, everybody.

These are the people who form our democracy. And now I ask you, why should we even expect it to work? When you see a big room full of Americans of all stripes, it's stupefying.

Yes, yes, I live in a major metropolitan area, Camden County, NJ, which probably has a vastly more differentiated population than, say, Smalltown, Kansas. Still, I imagine everywhere there are educated people and uneducated people, rich and poor people, religious and irreligious people, people who hate minorities, and people who are tolerant, people who are gentle and kind, and people who are flaming assholes with loud voices and ugly opinions.

On any given Election Day, those people go out and vote.

Democracy is a tough enough proposition in countries with much more homogeneous populations. In America, it is bound to crash and burn, especially if it can pick up fuel and oxygen from dirty tricks, fake news, empty promises from second tier celebrities, and dissatisfaction with the trajectory of employment trends.

Bottom line: Even the Founding Fathers worried about all the stupid white men who would queue up to vote. They foresaw issues. They were right. Even when the only voters were white men (a much more homogeneous grouping than today) it didn't go well.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not advocating dictatorship. But if you ask me, looking around the DMV or the jury room, I would have to say that democracy is one shaky motherfucker of a ship, just waiting to be swamped by a dictator, or anarchy, or civil war.

I hope I'm not right about this. I've been wrong about lots of stuff, so there's hope.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Dog Story

In the days before fences and leashes, I had a dog.

He arrived in our back yard one cold winter day, friendly as all get-out. Then he moved on. The next afternoon my dad found him in the parking lot of the local grocery store. Someone had kicked the poor mutt in the face. Dad brought him home.

He stayed with us 14 years.

We called him Woofer.

Woofer was an extremely intelligent dog. He won a prize in obedience school for overall performance. He was a mutt of no particular mix, but he jumped through hoops, sang songs, and would sit and stay for hours if told to.

The story I tell for my students, written in a way that begs to be imitated, goes something like this:

There was a group of foul-mouthed hooligans in my neighborhood. They told dirty jokes on the bus. Since my own mother was a foul-mouthed hooligan who loved dirty jokes, I imported a good one from the school bus and told it to her over the dinner table, figuring she would laugh.

She didn't laugh. In high dudgeon, she marched to the middle school the next day and spoke to the principal. The principal disciplined the boys. They quickly figured out whose mom had snitched and vowed revenge.

I was a sixth grader who had nothing to do with that gang of kids. I also had no friends at the middle school except for a few shrinking violets like myself.

As we boarded the bus that afternoon, the gang of boys (and their "ladies auxilliary") predicted in loud and glowing terms how badly they were going to beat me up when we all arrived at our mutual bus stop. The bus driver, oblivious, drove on and said not one word.

When we arrived at the bus stop, every single kid got off to either participate in, or witness, the big fight. I lingered in the back of the bus -- with one other shrinking violet -- until the whole damn bus was empty.

It was my stop, but I didn't get off.

The driver closed the door, and off we drove to the next stop. It was about three miles away. For about 100 yards, the boys chased the bus, shaking their fists and promising more mayhem tomorrow.

Here's where the story grows murky for a moment. I seem to remember leaving the bus at the other stop and getting a ride home from the mother of the other shrinking violet. So I guess I was a little late coming home from school, but Dad was at work, and Mom was off my list forever. I didn't even tell them what happened.

The next morning, I invited Woofer to walk to the bus stop with me. Remember, there were no leashes in those times.

The whole gang of kids waited for me at the bus stop.

Woofer routed them.

He didn't even have to bite anyone. The growling, bared teeth, and bristled fur frightened even me. He stood there at my side until the bus drove up and everyone got on.

And he was there at the bus stop waiting for me seven hours later when the bus returned me to the neighborhood. He escorted me home without incident.

At this point in the story, my mesmerized students always want to know: Did Woofer sit there all day, waiting for me, or did he go home and come back? I honestly don't know, but it hardly matters. He was just there.

I've been a pet owner since I was a kid. I've had lots and lots of cats. I had a parrot who lived with me 29 years. But I have never adopted another dog.

I'm not ruling out having another dog in my life. It is hard, though, to embrace dog ownership in these days of fences and leashes. And Woofer is such a hard act to follow.

One final note that I don't share with my students. We never had Woofer neutered. About 15 years ago I was driving in Western Maryland not far from where I once lived, and a dog ran across the road not far from my car. That dog looked just like Woofer. A ringer. I absolutely endorse spaying and neutering -- my cats are both snipped. But in this case, I've got to say I'm glad Woofer's DNA is still in the mix. He was amazing.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Postmodernist Pet

I am a school teacher. I teach English.

This week my students are writing memoirs about significant happenings in their lives. This is an emotionally fraught exercise.

As a teacher, I believe in teaching by model. So I wrote my own memoir about a time when my dog ... oh, wait! I've never told that story here.

Here's the dog in question, 1969. I'm actually writing this story about writing a story about a dog.

Basically I'm putting the photo here so I can show my students. Maybe some day I'll tell all of you about how this magnificent pet saved me from danger.

Yes, students, that's me on the right.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Don't Blame Me, Blame the Water Company

Did you know that there are some plant that are illegal to grow on your lawn?

Dumb question. I'll try again.

Did you know that a random poisonous plant can suddenly spring up in your yard, and you didn't plant it?

This happened to me over the summer. I feel blessed, truly blessed.

The saga began last winter when we had a brief spell of below-freezing weather. Soon thereafter I noticed water trickling down the street from under my sidewalk. It was a water main leak.

Thank goodness the doggone thing was on water company property, and not my own, because they came and fixed it. But in the process, they tore up my front lawn and did an indifferent job of re-landscaping it.

(I didn't bug them about it. My upholstery? I would have sued. My lawn? Meh.)

Some time in June I noticed a rather large and foreign plant growing in the bald spot. I had no idea what it was.


Within just a few weeks, my mystery plant had grown to this size and was sporting these beautiful white blossoms that opened at night. My friend Maebius correctly identified the plant as Datura stramonium, aka jimson weed, a highly poisonous hallucinogen in the nightshade family.

While Mr. J pleaded fruitlessly for me to chop down the charming little vegetable, I did some research. I learned that jimson weed seeds can lie dormant in dirt for more than a century, and, if they are roused from the depths, can sprout and grow.

So while Mr. J saw a poisonous plant, poorly placed curbside where any tot could pull and eat its blooms, I saw a throwback to a time when Snobville was a wild paradise of native life, unhampered by asphalt, concrete, and tract houses.

This was one of the few occasions where I prevailed. My jimson weed, which I named Omar, lived long enough to bear seed pods. When those ripened, I heeded my better judgment and pulled the plug. School was just about to start, you know, and lots of kids walk past my house.

Some time later, I attended a Pagan Pride Day talk given by a Witch who uses flying potions.

Oh my goodness, have you heard of these things? You dab on a little goo, and whoa ... only the strong survive!

Datura stramonium is one of the plants used occasionally in flying potions.

Might have been a time, oh, when I was 16 or so, that I might have liked to experiment with a Datura flying potion. Nowadays, thank you very much, I'll leave it to the experts. All the same, I can't find it in my heart to deny life to a plant just because you can't eat it. Look at those blooms!

I also find it compelling that the seeds lay dormant in the deep dirt for who-knows-how-long before they roared back to life. I do wish some people could do that. There are folks I miss very deeply, and if the water company could just re-animate them, that would be swell.

I gave one of Omar's seed pods to a Witch and kept another for myself. My back yard is dedicated to native flora, and I am sentimental. Omar was resurrected. His descendants have a right to reclaim their land.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Re-Introducing The Spare

Everyone's a critic. And is anyone more critical than your own kids, when you get to be a certain age, and they get to be a certain age?

For my many new readers (and I already love you all), I have two daughters. I call them The Heir and The Spare. I got the idea from something I read about Princess Diana back in the day. Apparently Wills and Harry are an Heir and a Spare.

The following conversation occurred a few days ago between myself and The Spare.

Spare: Mother.

Anne: Yes, darling?

Spare: About your blog.

Anne: Something wrong with my blog?

Spare: Yes.

Anne: I'm hanging on your every word. Do you want to see changes?

Spare: Of course! You aren't talking about me enough!

Anne: Right on it.


I know this will make my four original readers feel ancient. I sure do.

Spare graduated from college! She has a good job, and she's doing improv comedy in Philadelphia. Last night I went to a show (it wasn't improv) in which she convincingly portrayed an RNA sequence fresh off a splice!

Spare's college is in Center City, Philadelphia. I love this shot.


Then there was a happy day on the Fourth of July, long before politics weighed us down.


Spare and I are all paid up to strut with the Two Street Stompers again on January 1. And just three weeks later, another march! We will wear holes in our shoes.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Feeling the Burn

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Wow, more readers in a week than I had in a lifetime! Can't thank "She Who Seeks" enough!

Every year on the first weekend in December, the charming Pennsylvania hamlet of Phoenixville has a Firebird Festival. Artists in the community create a giant wooden bird (different every year), and at 8:15 on Saturday night, they set it on fire.

For a modest donation, you can put any kind of wish or intention on paper, and just before the burn, the organizers put the wishes inside the bird. Voila! Matter becomes energy.

My daughter The Heir and I always attend this event. Oh, dear Heir! She is an adult now. I don't see her as often as I like, but we make up for that in quality time. The Firebird Festival is quality time.

Someone I don't know named King Arthur took this video of the burning Phoenix.

Pictures and videos don't really do this event justice, because on your computer screen you can watch it without losing your eyebrows. Heir and I always get so close that we come home singed.

I put a wish in the Firebird. I also added some intentions from friends. May they all come true through the energy of the elemental fire!

There's a little Phoenix in all of us, don't you think?

Friday, December 02, 2016

The All-American First Cavalry Amazon Battalion

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," with malice toward none ... oh, hell. Who am I kidding? Sometimes the world calls upon you to have attitude. It just does.

And perhaps since I'm feeling so bellicose lately, I received a visit today from the Great Goddess Tabiti, sacred to the Scythians and all Amazon warrior women!

Tabiti actually came because I called Her. In fact, I am petitioning Her as I once did Cloacina. Desperate times call for all the Goddess power readily available!

Maybe you have heard that there is going to be a Women's March on Washington on January 21, 2017. I have already made plans to attend, along with Heir and Spare. The current number of attendees is 100,000 -- but that's just people who clicked a button on Facebook. My guess is that this march could bring five times that many women to town.

Word of this activity has reached across the news spectrum, finally filtering its way down into the cesspit occupied by the old fartbag named Rush Limbaugh.

Rush couldn't resist. He called the march "The All-American First Cavalry Amazon Battalion," and suggested that the women in attendance would synchronize their periods so as to be bleeding all together on that day.

Ask any Amazon, and she will tell you: When your enemies mock you, cleave them in twain with a battleaxe. Having accomplished that, take anything they have of worth and use it against their tribe.

I asked the Goddess Tabiti what she thought of All-American First Cavalry Amazon Battalion, and she said it sounded wonderful ... noble ... powerful. I agree! Traditional Amazon women were badass as fuck! They wore tattoos and smoked weed and lived in a society where everyone wore pants. Makes you pine for antiquity, doesn't it?

To my veteran and new readers, take heed. I, Anne Johnson, have been named a lieutenant in the All-American First Cavalry Amazon Battalion. I take my commission from Tabiti herself. On January 21, 2017 I will obey the call to march. And you're gonna hear me roar.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Donald Trump: Baby Christian

Honestly. You can't make this shit up.

My dear sister lives out in the country, and inevitably she has friends who are evangelical Christians. When she posted something against The Orange Menace on her Facebook page, one of these cockeyed morons replied:

"Yes! Donald Trump is a Christian! He's a baby Christian, but he's on his way."


Don't know about you, but when the term "baby Christian" gets thrown around, this is the first thing I think of! Who hasn't been to one of these little ceremonies?

I suppose this is what the evangelicals are calling newly-minted charlatans converts. But when it comes to the Orange Menace, "baby" fits way better than "Christian."

An overwhelming majority of grown-up evangelical Christians supported the Orange Menace. This should forever put to rest the idea that such people are anything more than rank hypocrites. They actually flicked the "yes" switch for a womanizing, twice-divorced huckster who takes glee in stiffing his employees, plastering the world with dreary golf courses, and firing up factories in foreign lands.


Now, this right here is the facepalm you make when everything you ever worked for, believed in, and died for is thrown overboard by people who pretend to believe in you. Poor Jesus! Even if you're a Pagan (like me), you can't help but feel a little bit sad for Him. Turns out His followers will overlook a whole lot of really bad behavior just for the vacuous promise of trying to overturn settled Supreme Court decisions.

Does any of this surprise you?

Well, this message has a (somewhat) happy ending. Upon hearing about this, quite a number of bored Goddesses spent the entire afternoon making macaroons from scratch for poor, sad Jesus. When it comes to understanding the perfidies of one's followers, no one can sympathize more than another deity.

I'm sure glad I lent my kitchen to the Goddesses for their baking. It smells heavenly -- and I can lick the bowls!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

It's My Country, and I'll Cry If I Want To

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where we prize sanity, not vanity. I'm Anne Johnson, and sometimes things make me cry.

On the morning after Election Day, my school district had a teachers' meeting scheduled. It's a good thing, because so many of us were in tears that I can't imagine how we could have taught anything in the classroom. The most grief-stricken of my colleagues? The history teachers.

You can therefore imagine my dismay and disappointment when one of my friends -- and a good one, a true one, someone I considered "bosom" -- posted on Facebook that all the crying people "ought to go live in China, or Cuba, or Iran, if you really want to cry about something." This post came from an intelligent man.

I've seen quite a few less intelligent individuals expressing the same sentiments. Don't like the fact that an incompetent, fractious, conceited blowhard has been elected to head the Ship of State? Move to China!

There is so much I could say about this, but I'll try to be brief.

First of all, if your candidate won, and you are happy about it, why does it bother you that people -- particularly women -- are crying? Oh! I can answer that! You are just a little bit uncomfortable about this election yourself. You feel in your bones that this won't turn out well. But hey, you are celebrating anyway! And how dare anyone fling a little reality at your glee?

Secondly, do you mind if I ask how you would be responding right now if the polls had been correct, and Mrs. Clinton won? Don't answer that. I know. You'd be out on the range, shooting your AK at human-shaped targets. You'd be standing by your man, who would be DEMANDING a RECOUNT and CRYING FRAUD. Don't tell me you would have bowed to the will of the people, stone-faced and stoic. I'm not buying it.

Thirdly (please give me extra credit for these thoughtful transition words), why move to China, Cuba, or Iran when it's going to be just like China, Cuba, and Iran right here? I don't have the money for a plane ticket. And let's see: Where would I be going if I did have that ticket? To a country ruled by a handful of above-the-law elites who oppress their citizens with low wages, curbs on free speech, and narrow, abusive religious practices codified into law. Why fly, when I can get all those perks right here? It's only a matter of time.

And now, to all of you "Stop Crying and Move to China" white males, I will say this:

Okay, I'll go. Now, here's where you need to go.

You need to hop inside the covers of a Charles Dickens novel. Yes, propel yourself back to Victorian England, where a handful of above-the-law elites oppressed citizens with low wages, curbs on free speech, and narrow, abusive religious practices codified into law! I understand there's a partnership opening at Scrooge and Marley. You're perfect for the job.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Cyber Monday Offer from The Gods Are Bored

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Cyber Monday: Buy it here, buy it now!

Just kidding. We aren't selling anything. But we are making you an offer.

Every year in December, The Heir and I attend the Phoenixville Firebird Festival. The citizens of Phoenixville work together to erect a giant bird made of plywood. At a designated time, they set it on fire.
This is quite an amazing event.

The best part of the Firebird Festival is that the organizers accept Intentions and put them into a box that is set inside the bird before it is lit.

Dear readers, those of you who checked back in after my long absence, I have an offer for you.

You can email me your Intention for the upcoming year -- anything you wish to affect for better or worse -- and I will write it on a card and place it in the box.

You have two options: If you are a Facebook friend, you can place your Intention in a private message. If you connect to me via this platform and don't want to put your Intention in a comment, you can email me.

My email is a gmail account and runs like this, you get the drift:

annejohnson17211 at gmail dot com

I feel that these are troubled times. Any time we can turn Intentions into energy, we should do it. The Firebird Festival offers one of these opportunities.

I would say meet me in Phoenixville, but look at the size of that crowd! Send me a message, and you'll be there in spirit.

Friday, November 25, 2016


I was going to write a blog post today, but I came home from work Wednesday with a cold. I couldn't taste the Thanksgiving dinner I put on the table (Spare helped -- we had seven dishes and two desserts). Today I am worse.

So here is a "lick and a promise," as my mama put it. I'll write when I feel better.

News flash: I now have four readers! Maybe five, if Spare checks in.

It's the anniversary of Decibel's passing, sort of. She flew for the Summer Lands on Black Friday.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Another Old Friend Drops By

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," now apparently broadcasting mostly from Facebook! Oh well, it beats Twitter. If you search me and get Facebook, I promise I'll have this content on there so you can click it. If you want to pick it. Such a sticky wicket.

Ah ... Anne has lost a stride or two, but she hasn't forgotten the whole dance.

All three of you readers are likely to recall my many adventures with the Monkey Man, a local figure who started as a mystery and became a lifelong friend. Well, Thanksgiving is here, and guess who's coming to dinner? THE MONKEY MAN!

The clear light of day reveals our Monkey Man to be Rocky Wilson, and this year in the spring he published his first collection of poetry! Let's hear some applause!

Here's the Man himself, with his book and his monkey.

(This photo first appeared in the Camden Courier Post, and I hope they don't sue me, because I don't have any money anyway.)

I just checked Amazon, and Rocky's book, The Last Bus to Camden, is not currently available there. Friends, it just about sold out its first print run. I am not exaggerating. You should have seen the reading Rocky gave in Snobville at the bookstore. People were spilling out onto the sidewalk. There was not even standing room!

Tomorrow when I see the Monkey Man, I'll ask him for permission to print a few of his verses here on "The Gods Are Bored" from time to time. It sure would lighten the mood.

Speaking of which, I haven't put my claw-sharpener away. In 2017 there will be more marching than just the Mummers Parade. Your reporter will be on the front lines in our nation's capital for the big protest on January 21.

But in the meantime, we are looking for the Light. Please give a warm, wonderful "Gods Are Bored" round of applause to Rocky Wilson, author, poet, and 100 percent fabulous guy! Best friends forever.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Baby, It's Cold Inside

Brrr! The wind is whipping out there! Finally, a cold day.

Time to put some resolve to the test.I have the thermostat in Chateau Johnson set at 60 degrees. It's going to stay there. I'm determined.

We have an oil-burning furnace. It was here when we moved in, back in 1987. The old thing can't have much longer to live. But I am crossing my fingers and trying not to work it too hard.

It was always my goal to nurse the old furnace along until the whole solar thing gets really cranked. Sadly, I feel like that goal will go unmet. All signs point to the ascendance of Big Oil to a position of even greater power.

I hate to see my hard-earned wages go to the oil company. The only thing I can do is minimize how much oil I use. Having a fireplace helps a little, I must admit.

Here's some free advice tips I'll give you (and pay you to take) if you want to use less oil or natural gas:

1. Do some home improvement project, preferably one that requires going up and down stairs/ladders many times. I did some interior painting today and then swept down the house with a good, old-fashioned broom. Sixty degrees in the house, and I worked up a sweat.

2. Go to the thrift store and buy some warm, fuzzy clothes. When you get home from work, put on the warm, fuzzy clothes. So what if they aren't sexy? (Hope Mr. J doesn't read this.)

3. Those afghans that Grandma knitted for you 40 years ago? Get them out! Snuggle under them! They're bought and paid for.


4. When you've finished baking something in the oven, leave it open for a few minutes after you've turned it off. This is a brief fix, but it does work.

5. This is an old one, and the hardest one for me to enact. Turn off the lights and all appliances you aren't using whenever you leave the room. Electricity isn't oil, but it's energy all the same.

6. Ask a bored deity for help. I guarantee you, if you complain that your house is cold to a Goddess like Sedna, She's going to laugh at you and call you a weakling.

7. Bonus: Being cold means you're burning more calories. Which means you can binge on the candy corn that's still here from Halloween!

It comes down to this. Every time that furnace comes on, Big Oil wins. Every hour you can go without it, you win. If you can't avoid doing business with these evil fucks, at least you can minimize what you put in their pockets.

Big Oil isn't going to get bigger on my account. Now I've got to say goodbye, because my fingers are too numb to type.

Friday, November 18, 2016

An Old Acquaintance Heads to Washington

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," emitting sardonic snorts since 2005! I'm Anne Johnson - it's my real name. Honest, I wouldn't make that up.

Wow, it's been a long time since I got bombarded with fire and brimstone and the sulfurous odor of foul Hell itself. But here it is, wafting in the wake of Lucifer, Satan, Beelzebub, The Beast, aka The Devil. Get this: He wants to be called "Mr. Applegate." He's a fan of old Broadway shows.

I guess I'd better intervene before he sits down. No getting that stink out of a well-upholstered sofa.


Anne: What are you doing here? I thought I'd seen the last of you. You're so 2005.

Applegate: Ha ha! Joke's on you. I was down, but not out. I was wounded, but not killed. I was battered, but not broken. I was ...

Anne: Jesus! I get the picture! Enough with the tired cliches!

Applegate: I just stopped by on my way to Washington, DC.

Anne: Of course. Why did this not occur to me? I suppose you've found gainful employment.

Applegate: And how! It's like a candy store. Whatever I want, in whatever portion I choose, for however long I want it. Times have changed, thank goodness. I was really getting bored.

Anne: I don't even need to ask for whom you will be working in the nation's capital. In fact, don't even say his name. It's like Voldemort; I can't bring myself to utter it.

Applegate (rubbing his hands together): Just doesn't get better. You're in for a treat, Anne! Watch as I transform into my newest incarnation! I've been working hard on it.


Anne: You'll fit right in.

Applegate: About time, too. I thought I'd get America back when they ditched the whole e pluribus unum thing back in the 1950s. Oh well, if you look at the course of history the way I can, a half century isn't any time at all.

Anne: I'm not even curious about what you're going to do in DC, so don't tell me.

Applegate: So glad you asked! So many tasks, where do I start? Do I ramp up the steam on climate change first and take charge of women's bodies second, or should it be the other way around? Build the Wall, or bomb Iran? Maybe I could multi-task and do it all at once! Why not? I'm a deity, after all.

Anne: You won't get away with it. Most Americans don't want your boss, and they sure don't want to lose their Medicare.

Applegate: Medicare is done! Hey, if you can't afford a hospital, don't get sick! It's a very simple game.

Anne: Applegate, I always figured you for an equal opportunity kind of guy. Like, I never thought you cared more about one race than another, or more about one religion than another. You just liked bad people of all stripes.

Applegate: And I still do! But I know some first-class haters when I see them, and the folks who voted in the regime change are going to be excellent ... brilliant ... at inflaming the masses. I haven't seen this quality since ...

Anne: Don't even say it. Just. Don't. In fact, get your Aryan ass out of my house! This property has been a No Republican Zone since 1987.

Applegate: What a pity, Anne! You could get a nice, plum assignment down there in DC right now. There are staffing opportunities aplenty. And look at you. Teaching inner city kids. You could do so much better.

Anne: Get the FUCK off my LAND you VILLAIN!

Applegate: Tsk tsk. Such rudeness! Just for that, my first priority as part of the new regime will be to end all free and reduced lunches for those loser poor kids that you teach. Yes, that will be a brilliant beginning. Brilliant! Are those tears I see in your eyes, Anne?

Anne: Go away.

Applegate: Oh, yes. Absolutely. Bon voyage! My years of self-pity are behind me! It's time to get to work.

And there he goes, off toward the Amtrak with his suit and his briefcase. You know what the worst part is? Everything he'll be doing down there, he'll give all the credit to Jesus. What a fucking world.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Crossing the Delaware

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" I'm Anne Johnson, and this is my safe space. Come on in. Weep with me, or have a cup of tea. Extra credit if you admire the upholstery on my settee.

My three readers know that I grew up in the mountains of southwestern Pennsylvania, out where you can throw a stone right across Maryland and into West Virginia. I spent a lot of time along the Potomac, and what a beautiful river it is. At this very moment it is much cleaner than it was when I was a kid, and much wildlife has returned to its shores.

Rivers are funny things. They can sometimes be forded on foot (I'm thinking of the upper Potomac) and yet they so often serve as boundaries. They separate states and nations. In our culture, they also separate mindsets.

In September I went home to Appalachia and took a long walk along the Potomac. I was on the Maryland side, which is a national park. But I couldn't help looking across to West Virginia, literally a stone's throw. I could see little vacation cottages and even hear snippets of conversation over the still water. I thought, for the 10,000th time, how wonderful it would be to retire to West Virginia and buy a little cottage along the Potomac.

Then I got in my car, and I was almost forced off the road, quite intentionally, by a monster truck carrying two males and flapping a Confederate flag. They flipped me the bird as they roared around me at a no-passing part of the road. My sin? Pretty sure it was the New Jersey tags on my car.

Look at this pretty stretch of river! It's not the Potomac. It's the Delaware. This is the Delaware Water Gap, and I beheld it for the first time last weekend. Yes, I live 100 miles from the Delaware Water Gap and have never been there. Boy, have I seen the error of my ways!

The Delaware River separates Pennsylvania from New Jersey. I've traversed it hundreds of times, riding the train between my home and Philadelphia. Never gave it a second thought, really.

It deserves a second thought.

Quite suddenly and unexpectedly, I am intensely glad to live on the eastern bank of the Delaware River.

Gone, with the swoosh of a rebel flag from an over-sized pickup truck, is any last vestige of nostalgia I might have had for the homeland I have cherished all these years. Gone, with this presidential election, is any expectation that I could live among the generations of mountain people who have succeeded my grandparents and parents. I'm not painting with a broad brush in any glib way. This is painful to me. How can you do anything but mourn when a state that was created because of its anti-slavery population turns blood-red?

Well, one way is to embrace a whole new river. Like George Washington, I have crossed the Delaware triumphantly, and it turns out to be a swell waterway.

More about water in future posts. There will be future posts. Lots of them. Written and published on the eastern bank of the wet and wonderful Delaware River.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Then and Now

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" If you are one of my three readers still looking in to see if I'm here, let it be known ... Anne is back! The stakes are high, and the steaks are dry. Or some such.

Wow. A lot has happened since almost a year ago, when the passing of Decibel the parrot was my last entry. So, what did I do between then and now?

One thing I did, happily and with an abundance of enthusiasm, was attend a Bernie Sanders rally at Temple University on April 6.

Look at Spare and me in this photo! It was freezing cold that day, not a speck of sun and a whipping wind. We got to the Liacouris Center at noon and stood outside until 5:30. Then we went inside. Spare went onto the floor to get as close to Bernie as she could, and I grabbed a seat. The arena slowly filled to capacity, which is 10,000 plus the standing room only on the floor. Bernie began his speech at about 8:30 or 9:00, and when it was over, he shook Spare's hand as he left the stage. When we caught up to each other, we wept tears of joy.

Senator Sanders' message resonated with both of us. We desperately wanted him to be the Democratic nominee for president.

We were deeply disappointed when he lost.

 I personally went to a Bernie rally during the Democratic National Convention (it was 105 in the shade that day), but after marching down Broad Street I had an impromptu conversation with a Jamaican immigrant lady who was furious with the Bernie-or-Bust crowd. When she confronted me, the conversation went kind of like this:

Lady: How can you do this? Don't you see you make it possible for that man, Donald Trump, to win?

Anne: Oh, let me promise you! I will vote for Hillary. I know the stakes are high.

Lady: Because, seriously, I'm afraid I will be sent back to Jamaica if that man Donald Trump gets elected. And I am a citizen of the USA.

Anne: Oh, don't worry about a thing! The American people would never elect such an unprepared and temperamental man to such a serious and demanding position of power!

Lady: We'll see.

That was Then.

This is Now.

On Thursday, November 10, 2016 Spare and I (and our friend Nettle) took part in a hastily-organized protest against Donald Trump. It was a Women's March. Spare made her sign. Again we wept together, this time in the dark and the cold, this time in despair.

Presidential primaries exist for a reason. They serve as platforms for the exchange of ideas. They serve to put as many issues and positions on the table as possible. Bernie Sanders was quite clear and articulate about the issues he saw as important. Hillary Clinton skirted these issues mostly, setting herself up as (a) someone about to make history, and (b) not Donald Trump.

I voted for her. Spare voted for her. So did lots and lots of other people. But the cold, dark times are upon us. The worst possible set of faux Christians has grabbed power-- the very people I used to poke such fun at on this blog.

The bored Gods are appalled. For the love of fruit flies, even Jesus is appalled.

I'm not a terrorist, I'm not being paid by George Soros or anyone else. But I'm going to speak. I'm going to protest. I'm going to cover this apocalypse with my Swiftian blog. I feel that, as a Pagan, I am being called upon to support religious liberty ... not to mention trying to keep Social Security checks rolling in to my ailing mother-in-law. And so much else. I'll cover it all.

I wonder what happened to that Jamaican lady I met in Philly last summer. I guess she's blaming me for this. Well, there's blame aplenty to be assigned. If my support of Bernie Sanders brought Donald Trump to office, then burn me at the stake. You've got to stand for something in this world.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

At Dusk We Ride

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where we are emerging from a long period of mental lassitude and thwarted ambitions. These are desperate times, and no one can afford to sit around in an easy chair mindlessly clicking Like on Facebook.

 To arms, Pagans! Time to kick some butt.

After no visits from bored deities for over a year, I've got a whole house full today. There's Bellona, Athena, Freya, and The Morrigan. Macha is scrubbing the sofa cushions furiously, and Sedna is shaking her fist at the sky. Spider Woman is making us war bonnets.

At dusk we ride.

The patriarchy has emerged from the presidential election in its most primitive and brutal form. Supported by no small number of American women, a powerful team of old, lecherous and repressive white men stand poised to determine our future. They will take control of our wallets and our wombs. They will smite the oppressed and reward the affluent.

At dusk we ride to stop them.

The victors in this election cycle are calling for unity and calm. This is not what they would have given us had they emerged the losers. Why should we lie down and take this? Would they? Why should we shrug and say, "What will be, will be?" We have to MAKE what will be. And so we say

NO to repealing a woman's right to choose
NO to the Christian hegemony
NO to the curbs on collective bargaining
NO to racism and discrimination
NO to the acceptance of an unprincipled, unprepared, and undignified man as America's leader, never mind the Free World.

No. We have to fight.

Find the protest in your neighborhood. Take your ID card, water, and fury. Do it now, do it often, and be sure to do it on January 20. Really do it then. The eyes of the world are upon us.

And look at all these bored Goddesses who are with us! They aren't two-faced deities who preach love and promote slavery. They are here to protect us, but we have to follow when They take the lead. Otherwise They will give us up as a lost cause.

As for Anne, aka moi, I'm back, and I'm bad, and I offer no apology. It's all well and good to hug trees and call peace from the Quarters, but the whole world is poised to fry -- and soon -- if we choose a leafy glen and hold hands and breathe deep.

Take a shallow breath for a change. Be anxious, be angry! It's time.


City Hall
5:00 p.m.
November 10, 2016

At dusk we ride.