Monday, April 15, 2019

A Moment of Your Time

Hello, and welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where we stray from the main message more frequently than we address it! I'm Anne Johnson, a wishy-washy Pagan ... but still a Pagan, thank you very much.

A scholar at American University is conducting a survey of Pagan values. If you would like to participate, here is the link:

It took me about 20 minutes and didn't feel particularly threatening or judgmental.


Friday, April 12, 2019

Katy Is Living My Dream

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" I'm Anne Johnson, a has-been, over-the-hill, wannabe this-and-that. Just think! I always wanted to write a novel! (And I did, but it sucks.)

I digress. I think I'm about to start a new little series of posts here called "Living My Dream," about people who are doing what I would love to do, but couldn't or can't.

Katy is first on the list. She is my next door neighbor, and she is 10.

Every evening Katy comes out with her glove and her baseballs and practices pitching. She's got a wicked delivery for a fourth grader. And guess what else she has? She has a spot on a Little League roster!

When I was 10, I wanted nothing more than to play Little League. My mom and I used to go watch the games. (The fields were between two huge cow pastures.) In my dreams I was on the team, swinging for the fences.

But in 1969, girls were not allowed to try out for Little League. Probably just as well in my case, because my hand/eye coordination is the only thing in the world that's worse than my novel.

Anyway, last evening I went to the Haterville Little League field to watch Katy play. She pitched two innings and hit a triple. She struck out a few batters. And she was the only girl on either team.

I'm glad Katy didn't settle for playing softball. Don't get me wrong, softball's great and all that. But if you want to play baseball, you ought to be able to take a shot at playing baseball.

Katy is a proud tomboy, and this I heartily endorse. At her age, so was I.

All hail Katy, living my dream!

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Can't Please Everyone

Hello, and welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where no good deed goes unpunished! Have you ever noticed that? The nicer you are, the more you're squashed. I'm Anne Johnson, a veritable pancake.

Today I arrived home to find the following note on my back porch:

To: Anne Johnson
From: Haterville Squirrels LL.C
Re: Ornamental Maple

It has come to our attention that you have made your ornamental maple inhospitable to hungry squirrels. Rest assured that we will bring this matter to the attention of the proper authorities. You can expect to hear from our attorney, as well as the local and/or national press.

Don't think for one moment that the many peanuts you put in the back yard every day will mitigate this debacle. We are tired of peanuts and need some tender greens in our diet.

This isn't over.

Okay, okay! I have a maple tree that I planted as a seedling, grabbed from another yard. It's the same age as my daughter The Fair, and so I call it "Fair Tree." Last year the squirrels got up in the canopy and ate all the buds. The tree had scant leaves the rest of the summer.

So yes, I committed a nefarious act, and to be honest I expected some kind of retaliation.

That's cayenne pepper. I admit, it's really, really mean. But the tree won't survive another year of having all its buds eaten. It's a small tree.

I will continue to put peanuts out for these local, snobby, Haterville squirrels. Don't tell them the peanuts are for the blue jays. Next thing you know, I'll get another memo.

Monday, April 01, 2019

One Job Should Be Enough

What's wrong with the Democrats? Is it me, or is everyone missing the real problem in this country?

How long can this end-stage capitalism last, when our young people can only be employed in "gigs" as "independent contractors," as "part timers" when really they should be full time (and are, in terms of hours performed)?

Did you see this week that Lyft, whose entire work force is "gig," went public with an IPO? Shareholder value! The entire company is built on people who qualify for Medicare and food stamps!

What we have right now is a workforce that is losing all of its power to self-sustain. I am so tired of it. So. Tired. Of. It.

If I was running this world, I'd stick it to the oligarchs, and not just in this country, but everywhere. There ought to be an international cap on wealth, agreed to by all governing bodies.

Know why that will never happen? The politicians are either bought by the stinking rich, or they are the stinking rich.

One job should be enough. Enough to rent an apartment, enough to support a child, enough to afford a modest savings, a fun vacation, a car. That's not asking much. Why isn't it a platform of the Democratic Party?

Oh, by the way, sweet readers ... I missed you guys! You can comment, and sorry about the stupid verify thing. I'll try to police the sleaze bags.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Not On This Site!

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," serving downsized deities since 2005! Wow! Another follower! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I have had to change the privacy settings on my comments link. "The Gods Are Bored" has been overrun with sicko spammers for Asian escort services. There are few things I find more loathsome.

Asian children from Nepal and parts of India are often trafficked into Red Light districts in the larger cities of the region. Poverty-stricken Chinese girls are convinced they will be getting good-paying jobs in America, only to be smuggled into massage parlors where rich old bastards use and discard them like sticks of chewing gum.

SMITE! I won't have this evil as part of my blogging package!

This is me when someone disrespects my blog. Any questions? If you have them, they will be moderated.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Minding My Sacred Space

Every year in March the Pagan community holds an event called Sacred Space at a hotel in Baltimore. I have never gone.

March is the hardest month when you are a school teacher. You get Daylight Savings Time as well as a level of ennui that puts the bored gods to shame. Everyone is praying for spring, praying for June, praying for evaluations to be over. It's still cold and often gray, raining but not snowing. The end of the year seems to be miles and miles away.

I lack the kind of energy I would need to go to Sacred Space and be really present there. So I stay home.

This spring I need to tend my own sacred space. The lavish new McMansions across the street are finished and inhabited. There are now 6 children under the age of 7 in those two houses. My whole block is suddenly running with kids. It wasn't that way when Heir and Fair were growing up.

It's time to tidy the outdoor surroundings, to buy screening plants for the porch and perhaps a fountain. I need a new bird bath and some more shiny stuff to please the faeries and Nature Spirits.

It will be a creative challenge to block the view of those ugly houses. If you have any suggestions, fling them at me. I need for my little piece of ground to be an oasis of peace in a desert of chaos.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Mandescending and Mindfulness

You've heard the term "mansplaining," and I really like it. Whoever coined it was pretty smart. The definition is basically a man explaining to a woman something that the woman is either more knowledgeable about because it's her lived reality as a female, or something she has trained to do and knows how to do already.

For instance, my daughter The Fair was filming an event the other night with high-end equipment she is well trained to use, and some dude tried to tell her how to set up the tripod. Really?

I'm going to add a new term of my own: mandescending. This is where a man is condescending to a woman and dismisses her out of hand, even though her concerns are serious, maybe either health- or job-related.

Yesterday my school district had a professional development workshop, and part of it was yet another session on how to use the baffling new web site for which the district spent tons of money to purchase a full package. The web site does a gazillion tasks but is about as user-friendly as a potted cactus. Every time we get a demonstration, the same guy comes. He's yet another of those paid consultants who spent a few years in the classroom, couldn't wait to get out, and saw this web site as a ticket.

Honestly, I'll be the first to admit that if I had trained as a teacher I would have been looking to move into corporate somehow after five to ten years. The teaching profession is poorly-paid, overly scrutinized, underappreciated by the public, and physically and emotionally exhausting.

Part of what makes it exhausting is trying to learn the web site du jour.

To return to my narrative, I was attempting to keep up with the blistering pace of this man's presentation, and as usual I fell a step or two behind. When I asked why my page didn't look like his, he came to my station, flicked a few buttons, and said, "There you are." And sniffed with derision.

I went to the vending machine and bought a Snickers bar. First one I've eaten in two years.

The joy of the Snickers soon abated, but my fury has not.

This country treats its elders with condescension. Or mandescension, you decide.

In the summer of 1979, I was working in the Milton S. Eisenhower Library of the Johns Hopkins University. I had a job with a special archive of psychiatric documents that belonged to a prominent Hopkins physician named Adolf Meyer. In order to prepare a documentary list of the voluminous records this man kept (which included extensive correspondence with Freud, Jung, and other psychiatric luminaries), the university purchased a word processor. It was the first one any of us had seen.

A technician wheeled the word processor into our office space and showed the lead archivist how to use it. But then an interesting phenomenon occurred.

One by one, the oldest professors in the Hopkins community dropped by to see the word processor. These were men (of course, it was 1979) who had probably written multiple scholarly tomes, using Royal typewriters or even legal pads. They wanted to see the machine in action. And so did I.

A few years later, I found myself working for a publishing house, preparing copy for encyclopedias. The work was done with pencil and electric typewriters. Then the company bought two word processors, but no one was particularly interested in using them. Having had a little bit of exposure to one, I gladly accepted a spot at the word processor. I got a raise.

I know I should have kept up with computing. I know I should be more capable when it comes to new web sites. Perhaps it shouldn't count that I was the most proficient with technology when certain workshop presenters were probably learning to use the potty.

I know my mental capacity isn't what it once was. I don't even write for this site like I used to. But to be dismissed with such thinly-veiled disdain was a nasty jolt. I'm old. I'm obsolete. I'm female. Thanks for reminding me.

But wait, there's more.

After being humiliated in the web site training, I had to go back into a general faculty meeting for both of the Vo-Tech campuses. When both campuses get together, it's a lot of teachers. A good two hundred plus, I should think. We fill an auditorium.

The rest of the long day was spent in mindfulness training. We had to ground, center, follow our breath, feel our feet on the floor (mine were cold), yada yada yada. Be in the moment, and if your thoughts drift, pull back to breath.

First of all, when I do this practice, it is tied to my religion, which I firmly separate from my work responsibilities. So I deliberately let my thoughts go as haywire as they wanted to. Here's the short list:

1. Wow, that guy is such an asshole! Karma's gonna come for him when he's 60, for sure. I'd like to be there when he gets confused over the communication system between himself and teachers on Mars. He won't have tenure. Maybe he'll get fired! Maybe a woman supervisor will tell him, "You're all washed up. Hit the road!"

2. I wonder where that mindfulness facilitator got her dress. Is that drip-dye, tie-dye or some other process? I like the way it drapes too.

3. Damn, I wonder what's going on with this student teacher I got assigned all of a sudden! Did she flake out on her previous assignment? What's up with that? Why did I even agree to do it?

4. Getting old sucks. I'm so tired all the time. I'm sick of people. I don't want to go out for lunch. I don't want to go to the gym anymore. My body is so weary, and my feet are cold. Why don't they turn on some heat in here? Dammit, I thought about putting foot warmers in my shoes, and I didn't do it! Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.

5. I wonder if I should pull back the ivy in the back yard just a foot or two. But grass doesn't grow well, and Mr. J never mows the lawn. Isn't the ivy better? But pulling the ivy would be good exercise. Yeah, but you know how annoying it is working with that English ivy. Yeah, maybe I'll just leave it. But if I had a nice straight line down the back, I could put up a stone border, like a rock wall ... what, am I supposed to be feeling my back against the chair? Fuck that. Fuck this whole thing.

6. I think I'll stop by Woodstock on the way home and see how they're doing. It's sort of on the way. Let's see, if I take Haterfield-Berlin Road to White Horse Road, and then ... that leads right to Springdale. Easy! Because it's such a long slog up Route 73. Oh! Why does everyone have their hand up in the air? Did I miss something? Who cares?

7. I can't believe I'm hungry after wolfing down that Snickers.

8. Donald Trump is an asshole. All powerful men are assholes. Geez, even Bernie Sanders couldn't run a tight ship. But this country will never elect a woman. Women won't vote for a woman. I wonder why that is? But I know it's true.

9. Camping or a hotel? I'm too old for camping! I'm not sleeping in a tent on the ground. But the hotel is so expensive. I could use that money to improve the front porch, so I don't have to look at the disgraceful, hideous house across the street ... Is it time to go yet? FUCK! Another two hours? I can't even. Like, camping isn't as bad as all that. You wake up in the cool morning air ... snap, I would have to buy so much equipment. But then I would have all the equipment, and I could use it again! Yeah, use it again to go camping. I'm done with camping! I spent my whole teenage decade in a tent! You know what else I'm done with? Mindfulness! Just another trendy stupid thing our school district is flirting with. You'd think they would train us on what to do when angry parents start shouting in our faces.

10. Whoa, look at the shop teachers! They are giggling like kids. Welding and mindfulness: perfect together.

If you've gotten this far, I know you get the drift.

Readers, my stats tell me that I have had over a million page views here at "The Gods Are Bored." I think a significant number of those are spammers of the pornographic variety. Still, someone has been reading my drivel. If that is you, do you want me to bake you a pie?

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

The Archives

When you're a school teacher, one dreary year blends into another. This is especially true on cold and gray March days when one has an after-work meeting at the other Vo-Tech campus, which is a 45 minute drive from mine.

As I made the long transit home from the excruciatingly boring meeting, I tried to remember how many years I've been a full-time teacher. I counted and counted in my head. But one dreary year bled into another.

Know how I figured it out? I went to the archives of "The Gods Are Bored."

I am completing my ninth year.

Oh well, lah di dah, time marches on and all that rot!

Happy Equinox to all in North America! The winters are longest when we hardly get any snow, and this is one of those winters.

If you're keeping score, I have to work another 11 years, or until 2031, in order to have 20 years in the profession. I'll be 71.

Saturday, March 09, 2019

My Grand 60th Birthday Gambit

If you're lucky, that day comes ... the day when the sun rises on your 60th birthday. You look in the mirror and say, "Wait a minute. Shouldn't I be turning 30?" But no. Daughter The Heir turns 30 soon. For me, it's 60. On Monday.

Those of you who have been with "The Gods Are Bored" since back in the grand old days know that I never opt for the sane and sensible thing to do, when instead I can do the wacky, frivolous thing.

And so, I am going on a mission to Salt Lake City to meet a very influential vulture named Andy N. Condor.


I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Anne! Why don't you go to the Andes and see real condors? This bird lives in an aviary!"

Yes, you're right. Andy lives at Tracy Aviary. Which means they know a lot about him. Including the day and year that he hatched. The year happens to be 1959.

Andy and I both turn 60 this spring.

The aviary is throwing a whopper of a birthday party for Andy, and I am going to be there. Additionally, I will be spending a day at the aviary earlier in the week for some quality time with this fine buzzard. It's going to be amazing.

What else did you expect of me? Something tame, like whale-watching? Pish tosh! The bored gods wouldn't have me any other way.

In preparation for my trip, I have done some research on hiking in the Salt Lake City area. Lo and behold, within a short drive of the city there's a fairly easy trail that leads to a waterfall and a series of hot springs. Soaking in a sulfurous hot spring has been on my bucket list forever!

So when I'm not fawning over Andy, I'll be up to my neck in a spring, or driving through big-ass mountains. This will allay some of the anxiety over the number of years I have been on the planet.

The trip is next month, during my spring break.

Please don't ask about my plans to retire. I don't have any, nor will I have any for another decade.

Alaska, Hawaii, Barbie, Andy, and me. Six decades along. Wow.

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Motherly Advice for a Daughter of a Pretty Age

My dearest Fair,

As your doting mother, I feel it is well within my place to offer you advice on the matters of courtship and matrimony. You are of a pretty age, to quote Shakespeare (although the young lady of which he spoke was 13), and it is time to consider the prospects of your making a suitable match.

I proffer these remarks with a certain wistful awareness that the choice to enter into a contract often resides with the young couple these days, and not with sensible parents. Therefore I will be bold and list the qualities you must seek in the pursuit of lasting affection. They are as follows:

1. Your young gentleman must be amiable. He must greet the world with a pleasant smile and be fetchingly deferential to you and your family members, no matter how eccentric they may be. Concerning these eccentricities, which are abundant, he must regard all with benevolence and resist passing judgment on that which he witnesses. His grin must be infectious. Remember that when you are smiling, when you're smiling, the whole world smiles with you.

2. Your young gentleman must be possessed of a comfortable means. It need not be excessive, as in the manner of Fitzwilliam Darcy. However, it must needs be sufficient to cover expenditures with some shillings left over to bank for the future. You will, of course, contribute your own modest fortunes to the match, and therefore it should be a quite advantageous situation for you both. Go on, take the money and run.

3. He must have affection for domesticated felines and hold no allergic reactions to the species. Nor should he distinguish between pedigreed or mixed lineage -- sometimes known as "bear cats" -- never saying, "You can purr, pretty kitty, but I ain't gonna rub you no more."

4. He must eschew all frivolous forms of entertainment that require useless outpourings of lucre, most especially the despicable "football pool" and other dissipating habits. He is, however, encouraged to sit on the dock of the bay and waste time.

5. He must not be encumbered with a plethora of past contracts that were disbanded, for whatever reason. His regard must be fresh and untainted by the comparison with any other person he may have known. It should feel like the first time, like the very first time.

6. While looks are generally not important, he must possess a visage that does not frighten small children or cause laughter in the street. He should also cut a fine sartorial figure without spending excessively on his attire. Every girl is crazy about a sharp dressed man.

7. While not necessarily a gentleman who works with his hands, your young suitor should be able to mend, repair, fix, straighten, re-grout, spackle, tinker, build, and invent. He should also have a strong appetite for wholesome outdoor pursuits, including but not limited to hiking, biking, rowing, swimming, playing kickball or croquet, and scaling heights safely. He should prove daily that there ain't no mountain high enough, ain't no valley low enough, ain't no river wide enough, to keep him from getting to you.

8. His habits in #7, above, should be moderate and not include meticulous collecting or Ironman triathlons.

9. It is always helpful if he is proficient with the sword and the dueling pistols. In short he should be willing to catch a grenade for you.

10. His interests should be similar, but not identical, to yours. That way, you enrich each other with your singular expertise while finding estimable commonalities. If you like pina coladas, and getting caught in the rain, he could just as well be into champagne.

11. He must put your happiness ahead of his own and be a safe port in the storm for you when the vicissitudes of life batter you about. He should be solid as a rock.

My my, how I do prattle on! I am quite sure this is not the whole list. Perhaps my readers will feel inspired to add their sage advice to mine. Suffice it to say that a union of true souls should not be entered into lightly, or in haste. So go on a slow ride, take it easy.

Your very loving, etc. etc.

Saturday, March 02, 2019

How the United Methodist Church Changes Lives

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," blue politics, bored gods, and buzzards all the time! If you're new to the fold, welcome! If you've been here since the dawn of time, thank you so much! I love you all.

I also love the United Methodist Church. Being a member changed my life.

Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Wait a minute. This is a Pagan blog." And you would be right. But that doesn't mean I can't feel some gratitude toward the good ol' UMC.

When my first daughter was born, her great-grandfather took me aside and made me promise to raise her "churched." He was Roman Catholic, and thank all the bored gods he didn't ask me to take her to that den of scoundrels. But he did want her to be "churched."

I said yes. I was fond of the old fellow. My own parents were faithful church-goers, and I had grown up going to church every Sunday. So I pretty much went eenie-meenie-miney-mo among the Haterfield (aka Snobville) churches and landed at the Haterfield United Methodist Church.

I attended for 16 years, almost every Sunday.

The experience was demoralizing, frustrating, and irritating. I got along best with the diaper babies in the years when I ran the crib room during the 11:00 service.

For awhile the church had a chill and liberal pastor who regularly excoriated his flock for being privileged and complacent. (He was unpopular.) When he resigned, matters went downhill. And still I went, and I took my daughters, and they hated it. But I had made a promise.

There wasn't one moment when I decided I'd had it with the United Methodist Church. There were about 125. Maybe more. But what put the kibbosh on my membership for good was when the national leadership defrocked a female pastor when she told her congregation that she was gay.

Mind you, her congregation already knew. And they loved her. What she did was, she made a public pronouncement about her identity.  That's all it took. She lost her job.

The hypocrisy was astonishing. I bounced.

For the record, both of my daughters were happy about it. They are blissfully "unchurched" to this day.

I formally severed the ties with HUMC in 2004. Long time ago! But this week in the New York Times, I read that they are still persecuting gay clergy to this day. Times may have changed, but not the United Methodist Church, by cracky.

Readers, I am so deeply grateful to have enjoyed 15 years of Paganism, free of the UMC, free of that hidebound Bible, free of the well-dressed snobby hypocrites, free of the stewardship sermons, free of the cackling hens in the "women's circle." Free of a place that discriminates!

Since 2004 I've met many, many fascinating people from many spiritual paths. I've explored several of those paths myself, before settling on my own eccentric blend of pantheism, ancestor veneration, and buzzard worship. None of that, not one single post in this long-lived blog, would have been possible if I had stayed with the Methodists.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Methodist church! Your stunning inability to recognize the dignity and worth of every human being was the final push I needed to step right out of Christianity and not look back.

Altar call: Some of you might be contemplating a similar move. Do it! There are Other Voices in other rooms! You can change your life! Our operators are standing by to take your call.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Because a Girl Can Dream

At 2:00 in the afternoon, Donald Trump -- dressed in white shirt, bright blue tie, and dark suit -- boarded Air Force One with all the pomp and splendor of the president of the United States. He blessed his weary nation with an imperial wave and set off to meet Korean dictator Kim Jung Un in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam.

Air Force One took off without incident. Trump settled into his cushioned seat and stared out into the darkness across the wing of the plane.

Trump suddenly jumped like he'd been poked with a cattle prod. What was that out on the wing of the plane? It looked horrible, like a monster! Was he dreaming? Were his eyes fooling him? (He discounts that. Nothing fools him, nothing.) Vaguely, in the back of his little mind, he remembered an episode of The Twilight Zone from long ago, when a gremlin stalked a plane wing, or some such.

But the Thing, whatever it was, disappeared. Trump took two Maalox and reclined for a nap.

The plane touched down in Hanoi. Something was wrong.

The pilot and co-pilot looked at each other. This was not the Hanoi they had been told to expect. The runway was shoddy and pockmarked with craters. To make matters worse, armed soldiers were advancing on the plane from both sides. They didn't look friendly.

The pilot radioed for the Secret Service, but something was wrong. The Secret Service agents were all sleeping and could not be roused. It was as if they were in suspended animation.

Trump stirred, fixed his tie and his hair, and took a quick leak in the loo. "Let's go," he groused to the pilot.

"But sir ... Your Secret Service agents are all in comas ... and, look out the window!"

"That's just the welcoming committee!" Trump roared. "Open the door and let me out of here!"

The pilot couldn't refuse an order from his president. He opened the door.

Trump stared out across the runway. Gee, Hanoi sure looked dingy! He hadn't been briefed on this.

Because the Hanoi he landed in was not the Hanoi of 2019.

It was the Hanoi of 1970.

The plane had passed through a space/time continuum.

Before he could retreat to the safety of his plane, the plane dissolved into cotton candy! Donald Trump -- tie, suit, and bad haircut -- stared out at a platoon of gun-toting Viet Cong, who, although they didn't know the guy by name, recognized an American capitalist pig when they saw one.

"But ... my bone spurs!" Trump sputtered. "I'm not supposed to be here!"

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh ..............................

Here the story could take a turn. What completes this fantasy with the most satisfaction? Does he get blasted by a few hundred Soviet firearms, or do they haul him off to the Hanoi Hilton for a nice, long, comfortable (not) stay? How about a prisoner exchange with a brave young soldier named John McCain?

A girl can dream. Thanks be to Gritty!

Saturday, February 23, 2019

My New Grand-Cat!

About three weeks ago, my area got hit by the Polar Vortex, which is basically a big swath of super-cold air. It was so cold that schools were called off, and I got to stay home by the fire.

But there was a little kitty who wasn't so lucky. She was thrown out of a car in Philadelphia, and then kicked to the curb, for good measure. In all that cold. Fortunately a cat lady saw it happen and convinced our local shelter to take the kitty in.

My daughter The Fair and I first saw photos of the kitty and read her heartbreaking backstory on the Facebook page of the local shelter. And somehow we knew it was time.

Saturday morning the kitty went up for adoption. She was put up for adoption at 11:00 and adopted by Fair at noon. Don't you wish all homeless cats had such a quick turnaround ... and to a good home at that?

Yes, she is a white cat who quickly covered Fair's black leggings in white cat hair. She can't be given a Greek alphabetic name, because she isn't mine. Therefore I believe she is about to be called Bijou.

The lady who rescued Bijou got the license plate of the car from which the cat was thrown. It turned out to be registered to an 87-year-old man. We think it's likely that Bijou belonged to this elderly person, and he passed away. She is extremely friendly, not a bit afraid of people or other cats. She was microchipped in 2014, meaning that she's probably about 6 years old.

Welcome to the family, Bijou!

Monday, February 18, 2019

Survival Skills in a Time of National Emergency

Hello and welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Always good to see you. I've got some muffins in the oven -- banana -- so drop by!

As a lady of a certain age, I have lived through some national emergencies. Oh, yes. I mean, 9/11 was the big one, I suppose, but I can recall three assassinations, riots, Superstorm Sandy, an Oil Crisis, a fistful of hurricanes, and the inability of Smarty Jones to win the Triple Crown. I think I know how to handle these dire events.

And, since I'm such a nice and accommodating person, I'll gladly pass along to you some handy survival tips!

I know y'all aren't completely ignorant about these matters. (My readers are quite the opposite, in fact the total opposite, of ignorant.) I don't need to tell you to stock up on batteries and have a battery-powered radio, a few sturdy, working flashlights, and food that can be eaten straight from the box or can. Oh yes, and a comprehensive first aid kit, plus plenty of your prescription medications, and a full tank of gas in your car.

However, I do often notice in national emergencies that people don't plan for an adequate water supply. It's all well and good to have bottled water (a gallon per person per day), but you don't want to flush the toilet with your drinking water! Take those storage bins in your basement, remove the tops, dump the contents, and put those puppies out in your yard to catch rain water. Don't let this emergency find you unprepared.

Since this current national emergency involves the invasion of multitudes of hostile foreign combatants, I'm going to swallow my good sense and everything I believe in, and I'm going to advise you to purchase a semi-automatic weapon and several thousand dollars' worth of ammunition. Listen, the armed services can only do so much. Emergencies like this call for citizen soldiers. The enemy, from what I hear, consists of hardened criminals who particularly love to kill unsuspecting white people. So don't be unsuspecting. Get a gun. Learn how to use it.

Locate and stock your nearest bomb shelter. (Yes, they still exist! There's one under my school!) Just because the invaders haven't used nuclear weapons yet doesn't mean they won't get around to it.

Be deeply suspicious of anyone who looks or sounds foreign. If you meet someone who has an accent, call Homeland Security immediately and give your GPS coordinates. We can't be vigilant enough in these trying times.

Be ready to defend your minor children, especially the girls. The invaders are known to engage in human trafficking. God forbid they snatch your child!

Tune your radio to a trusted news source. I recommend Rush Limbaugh. He's on at the same time every day, and he's already in a bunker, with a gun, and with rations to last years. You can count on him. He's already been there through thick and thin. Mostly thick.

All right, this last one is really difficult. I'll be the first to admit it. But in a national emergency, you can't be burdened with pet care. Since you don't want the invaders to snatch your beloved Fifi or Fluffy, it will be your duty to euthanize your pet. The sooner, the better. You may need to consume their food. If the electricity is still working, you should freeze your pet's carcass as a potential source of food. Waste not, want not.

Just because the United States of America hasn't been invaded since 1812 is no reason not to take this national emergency seriously. Remember, in 1863 the highly-trained and well-armed Confederate Army got the whole way to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania before being routed like egg-sucking dogs pulling back after a skirmish. You've got to take this seriously!

Look at you. Why are you laughing? Do I look like I find this funny? I could honestly get a jump on my outdoor water supply just by weeping. But chin up. This is no time for fear or failure. Just remember, we are the nation that whipped the Nazis.

Oh! But don't do any Nazi-whipping now! Those guys with the swastika flags? They're on our side.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Interview with a Bored Goddess: Holda

It's staying light a little longer. Have you noticed? This morning when I set off for work, the sky was pearly and a few birds were chirping lustfully. All is well with the world.

But make no mistake. Winter is still well under way. Ask anyone in Washington State. They'll tell you. What better time to tender an invitation to Holda, bored (and misunderstood) Goddess of the Germanic peoples? Spread a few flax seeds, brew up some good lager, and She'll be only too glad to stop by. Please give a warm and wonderful "Gods Are Bored" welcome to Holda, the Winter Goddess!

Anne: All hail, great Snowy Goddess, vilified and persecuted by the Christians ... portrayed as a hateful hag, when really you are beautiful, nurturing, and helpful to humankind!

Holda: Yes, yes. That's me. Marginalized and misunderstood, like so many of my Sisters. Your cat has some mats in his fur. Shall I groom him?

Anne: What a kind offer! Please do. Oh, would you look at that! He never holds that still for me! Holda, I invited you here because I'm quite braced. I think you have a new praise and worship team!

Holda: Who, me? Couldn't be.

Anne: Want to see?

Holda: Yes sirree!

Anne: Aren't they beautiful? A gathering of women who are determined to nurture this nation!

Holda: They certainly have good taste in attire.

Anne: I thought of You the moment I saw them. There, I said, are acolytes of Holda, channeling Her snowy gowns and Her generous spirit.

Holda: How did they come to assemble in that place?

Anne: They came to listen to a despot who they plan to oppose. They chose the snowy white garments in honor of women's rights (and also to honor You).

Holda: I'm so touched! It gets tedious, you know, when the only white you see is on a bride.

Anne: I couldn't agree more ... but You have to admit it's a hard color to keep clean. These ladies aren't Goddesses. They have to be mindful of pesky stains. And yet they chose Your luminous shade. You should be proud.

Holda: I am! This is quite encouraging! What can I do to assist them?

Anne: All glory, laud, and honor to You for wanting to be helpful! Go, Holda, and sit among them. Be by their sides as they seek to restore balance to our troubled land.

Holda: You mean it? An assignment with dignity? I'll hop right on it!

Anne: No one is asking me, but what I think this modern nation needs is way more attention paid to ancient Goddesses. Go therefore, Holda. You're no ugly old hag trying to eat children! Show them how a Goddess does it. You're perfect for the job!

Holda: I accept. And in gratitude for the job, I'll send you a nice, bracing snowstorm.

Anne: With no sleet mixed in.

Holda: Hold the sleet, hold the freezing rain.

Anne: And ditch the wintry mix. We get that here all the time.

Holda: Snow it is for you, dear Anne. Deep, white, pure, and powerful.

Saturday, February 02, 2019

Imbolc 2019

It's 4:45 p.m. and still bright daylight, so we are making progress. However, my heart is heavy today. One of my students who I had three years ago died after a long and painful battle with cancer. His funeral service was today.

To me, there is nothing so heart-wrenching as burying a child. Life is no cakewalk, but we still prefer that everyone get a chance to muddle through it, at least past the age of 25. My student was 17.

I had him as a freshman, before his illness began. He was "that kind" of freshman boy, full of energy, lots of friends, and very little (actually none) interest in English class. So he wound up sitting right in the front, right by my desk, for most of the year. (I tend to do this with "those kind" of boys.)

This student told me he hated to read. He'd never found a book he liked. Then I handed him a few of my carefully curated young adult urban lit novels, and he started reading. I can still see him turning the pages, lost to the world, right in front, next to me.

Today his friends looked shell-shocked, and his family looked worse. No amount of faith in God and Jesus makes this easy to bear ... I'm sorry, that's just the way it is.

This young man had a beautiful smile and was full of antics. I'll miss seeing him cross the stage for his diploma this spring.

I petitioned the Orishas to find him and acquaint him with the Ancients of his line. For good measure, as I was in a Baptist church in downtown Camden, I asked Jesus to please allow this to happen.

May his ancestors greet him. May he find his way to the Ancestors in the Old World, before they were sent to these hostile shores.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Sensible Witchcraft: Besom, Stang & Sword

The thing I like best about quote-unquote New Age religions is that they aren't hide-bound. New frameworks can arise without the practitioners facing persecution as heretics. That's refreshing. It also opens the door for books like Besom, Stang & Sword.

This highly readable book is a very interesting mix of traditional folk witchcraft (known as hoo doo in some quarters) and innovative uses of pathways, moon cycles, and bonding with your land base. The authors feel it's less important to forge relationships with deities from various pantheons than to dig into doing things. It's a hands-on approach that's at once ancient as our heath-dwelling ancestors and modern as the concrete cityscape.

I've got to admit that I often have a hard time getting through books on Pagan lore and practice. I'm not exactly sure why, but my mind begins to drift while I'm reading them. This book is one of the few where that didn't happen. It covers a whole lot of ground, including topics I hadn't read much about before, but manages to be accessible and interesting throughout. Perhaps it resonated with me because I've been working on my backyard-based Work, but it seems to me that this is the book you want if you want to be a witch but don't see why that label must include an up-close-and-personal visit to Glastonbury or a shelf full of Gardnerian lore.

When I was 13, my grandparents finally got running water in their summer place on Polish Mountain. Before the well was drilled, my grandfather hired a water diviner to come and find the best location for it. My cynical uncle scoffed at the process, but I was absolutely fascinated by the old man who came with his wand and walked back and forth across that rocky hill for hours, concentrating all the while. I will forever mark that ancient fellow as the first working witch I ever saw.

This book is for you if you want to be a working witch -- if you want to do trance work, or use flying ointments, or practice necromancy, or influence the outcome of things. I really enjoyed reading it, and my takeaway is to love the land I'm with.

I would call this a "beginner's book," but the authors helpfully include lots of sources for every topic, so you can dig deeper and find those tomes that will have your mind wandering in no time. If you want to learn about folk witchcraft, or improve your practice thereof, I highly recommend this book.

With apologies to the bored Gods and Goddesses. But that goes without saying.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Opposition Candidates Who Are Sure To Beat Donald Trump

Can you believe it? The mid-terms are just now over, and already candidates are lining up to run against Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential! And no wonder. Donald Trump is the easiest sitting president to beat of all time! It'll be like taking candy from a baby.

In case you're having trouble keeping up with them, here's a short list of opposition candidates who are shoo-ins against the Orange Horror.


Who better to beat the Orange Horror than another Orange Horror? Honestly, though, Gritty has some bona fides. I wrote about him a few posts back. You'll see he's a take-charge kinda mascot.

2. Lil Bub

Bub is as cute as Trump is ugly. She has overcome a lot of real health issues (as opposed to fake ones) just to be able to go about her day. She would never shut the government down, because someone has to inspect that cat meat! Can't let shoddy cat meat into a can. Nor would we need a space force, because rumor has it Bub has some extraterrestrial connections.

3. Mickey Mouse

No surprises there. He runs every time, and gets lots of votes, too. But this might be the first race ever that his promise of being better than the incumbent is actually verifiable.

4.  Obi-Wan Kenobi

He's our only hope.

5. Sarah Connor

There's nothing gun-toting men find sexier than gun-toting women. Am I right? Sarah will get the 2nd Amendment voters that Hillary didn't. Or else. Besides, Sarah's a badass. Wait until the debates, when Trump tries to stalk up behind her. He'll be out like a light, flailing on the floor like a gutted walrus.

6.  Elizabeth Bennett

My money is on this plucky woman.  She reads a lot, she can stand up to the moneyed interests, and she has a keen sense of social justice. Some family misbehavior might make a headline here and there, but no one needs to be paid off to keep silent.

7. Francis the Talking Mule

The electorate has already proven it will vote for a jackass. We should at least get one that can put together a coherent sentence.

8. The Dude

Can't really put together a coherent sentence, but he isn't a jackass.

9. Justin Trudeau

Please. Humor me.

10. Cthulu

Because sometimes you have to fight evil with REAL SERIOUS EVIL.

So, voter, which candidate do you support? Remember, those white pukes from the Kentucky private school aren't ready to run yet, so you really should choose off this list. The time is now. The need is great. Vote.

Monday, January 21, 2019

An Open Letter to Nick Sandmann, Future Supreme Court Justice of America

Hello and welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," your Pagan pathway to paradise! You know what's good about bored deities? If they're warlike, they're just warlike. They don't pose as coo doves and then smite. That's hypocritical and dishonest, don't you think?

EXHIBIT A: Today's Poster Boy for the Modern Era

Y'all probably know this story already. The young white creature is Nick Sandmann, a teenager from private Covington Catholic School in Kentucky. He and his classmates (pictured in rear) got into an altercation at the Lincoln Memorial some time after the annual Right to Life rally in Washington, DC.

There was a great rush to judgment based on this photo, so I took the time to read the grinning white boy's version of events. And I must say, he would fit right in here in Haterville. He casts himself as a victim with a total lack of irony.

The story he tells says so much about him. As if you'd need to know more once you saw the MAGA hat.

Apparently these fine Catholic youth were minding their own business at the Lincoln Memorial when some African American men began to taunt them. In Sandmann's account, these Black men called the good, white Catholic boys all sorts of names. So, in response, Sandmann asked his chaperone if he and his buddies could chant SCHOOL PEP RALLY CHANTS, and the chaperone said YES.

Picture this in your mind. Especially if you're a school teacher.

So you have taunting on one side, and chanting on another (from white teenagers wearing MAGA hats), and then you get a drumming Native American who tries to diffuse the situation.

Well, you can't blame the drummer. Some fucking chaperone was inciting his or her charges to riot, instead of quietly steering them out of trouble.

This is what white privilege looks like.

I have absolutely no time or energy for these Catholic schoolboys who go into Washington, DC (population about 60 percent Black), having no respect for the urban environment or what they might encounter there. At a moment where a thinking student or chaperone encountered taunting, that student would turn and quietly walk away. Let's not even talk about what Jesus would do, because ... oh, just see above, first paragraph.

Any woman who has ever walked the streets of a city and has gotten taunted would have known what to do in this situation. But white men? White men don't know shit about this. It's never happened to them. Or to their fathers or grandfathers. It must never have happened to the chaperone, either.

White Catholic boy, your MAGA hat speaks for you. Wear it the wrong place, and you've got to face the music. You won't like the tune. But hear it with humility. You go to private school and are bound for a life of wealth and contentment. The men who challenged you at the Lincoln Memorial? Not so much. Not. So. Much.

But that brings me to the silver lining of this fable.

Nick Sandmann, given the political tenor of your home state (which I would never be foolish enough to visit in my car with its New Jersey plates), you have a bright, bright future! Someone will have to pick up the torch from Mitch McConnell, and you're just the fresh-faced Republican to do it. But why stop there? Everything about you just screams Supreme Court Justice. Are you doing your requisite beer parties with all those fine, young, white pep rally chanters you hang out with? Are you getting drunk and preying upon the fresh-faced Catholic girls in your circle? Oh good. Just checking. In that case, all is well! You're on your way to the big time!

Readers, I double dog guarantee you this sad excuse for an American will face no disciplinary repercussions for this at home or at school. Nor will his chaperone, who was either on some super strong mushrooms or was just a clueless rube. White boys get away with this shit. Always have.

And once again, we see the Catholic church at its finest. What a rotten God! It's disgusting.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Divide and Conquer

When the Orange Menace was inaugurated, women of all stripes (except the Republican stripe) took to the streets and marched in solidarity. Like, in the millions.

Here we are three marches later, and everyone is quarreling like ... well, like human beings.

Muslim women may feel that homosexuality and abortion are sins. Some cis women don't consider transsexual women to actually be women. Women who voted for Bernie in the primaries feel like he would have beaten Donald Trump. Women who voted for Hillary feel like Bernie voters caused all this mess and kept a qualified, dignified candidate out of the White House.

Some African American women feel that white women can't see past privilege. Some white women can't get past their privilege enough to understand the minority experience. Some Millennial women resent how Baby Boomer women were able to get good jobs with benefits, and some Baby Boomer women don't understand why Millennial women don't stop whining and go out and get a good job with benefits.

Some women feel that the Democratic party should adopt a sensible, middle-of-the-road platform, and some women want to shake things up and fight for universal health care, free state college, and a basic minimum income. Some women love their guns, and some want to gather the damn things up and incinerate them.

Only a smattering of women are pro-organized labor ... and some of them voted for the Menace.

In Philadelphia on Saturday, there will be two women's marches in two different parts of the city.


Are we forgetting something here? The evil afoot is worse than any single female agenda! Who is the enemy? Trump is the enemy! He and his ilk can only benefit if women fracture their solidarity.

Anyone who thinks this past election has put us in the clear should look at the voting results. My boy Andy Kim won by about 700 votes. That's what I call hanging by a thread.

We can't afford to squabble among ourselves. For the love of fruit flies! This is exactly what they want.

Therefore, without a sign and without prejudice, I, Anne Johnson, intend to travel into Philadelphia and march with whatever march I come to first. So what if I'm an old, suburban white woman? I'm a voter. I'm a worker. United we stand, divided we fall.

I want that horror of a human being out of office. That's all that matters.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Happy Birthday, Barbie!

Can you believe it? Barbie turns 60 this year. I actually think she looks younger now than she did in 1959.


To be honest, as a little girl, I found Barbie disconcerting. I didn't like her big tits or the fact that her feet were constructed so she could only wear high heels.


What do you know? Her tits are smaller, but she's still wearing those heels! Come on, Barbie. Eat some cake! You're too thin!

Actually I have some very good news for Barbie. I, too, was born in 1959. In just a few weeks I'll be eating a whopper of a cake -- and Barbie can help me polish it off!

Gosh, I can hardly believe it. I'm almost 60. I feel blessed to have come this far. Sure, there are aches and pains, but I'm hardy and working every day. All the same, 60 can make you a bit existential. Unless you're Barbie.

Readers, I have arrived at the age of 60 hardly having done any traveling at all in my life. So this Spring Break I will embark on an epic quest for my Thunderbird soul-mate. I'll tell you about it very soon!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Destroyer of Worlds

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," brought to you from the Great Blue Northeast since 2005! We've got millionaire neighbors here now, but that only makes it more likely that we will flaunt our radical left-wing agenda. And possibly eat the rich.

I don't know if you've kept up with the alt-right and their symbol appropriation.  Long story short, this cute little frog has become the alt-right's mascot.

Poor little guy! My heart bleeds for him. (What else would you expect from a bleeding heart liberal?)

It seemed only a matter of time before the radical left responded in kind. An eye for an eye, and all that nonsense.

Last year, the Philadelphia Flyers unveiled a new hockey mascot who is so magnificently hideous that he practically melts steel. His name is Gritty.

As luck would have it, the very week the Flyers unveiled Gritty, Donald Trump visited Philadelphia for a fundraiser. Protesters gathered, and more than a few signs featured Gritty, telling Trump to get out of the city.

Don't ask me why the Flyers promotional team didn't match up the rhyme ... but they didn't.

Gritty caught on immediately as a foil to the alt-right's frog. From local origins he has branched out in all his tangerine glory. Even the New York Times made a snooty note of it. Now you can't go to a protest of any sort without seeing Gritty on signs or decals.

Don't mess with Philadelphia when it comes to being bad-ass.

The first time I laid eyes on Gritty, I thought he was what one might see if one watched Sesame Street while licking a cane toad or swallowing questionable mushrooms. But wow, did I warm to him quickly when he stepped into the political arena!

The title of this post, "Destroyer of Worlds," comes from the t-shirt my daughter The Fair gave me for Christmas.

All I have to say is, if Gritty can destroy the world our nation is descending into -- where we're held hostage by a lunatic narcissist and his venal flunkies -- then you go, Bearded Wild Thing! Have at them!

PS - He came to the Mummers Parade. Imagine that!

Yes, that's me hugging him. He was in my unit.

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Interview with a Bored Goddess: Ma'at

Good day, and welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" This is the site where we designate deities to duties that need to be done. Yes, reader, you too can become a Prayer Warrior -- just choose a God or Goddess who will heed your call, and then pray your heart out.

And boy, am I praying today! I've had the scouts out everywhere, looking for Ma'at, the sacred ancient Egyptian Goddess of Truth and Justice.

Used to be, I didn't have a bit of trouble getting such ancient and venerable deities to join me for a bracing beverage and a fireside chat. In these times, They are not as accommodating. My first message from Ma'at was: "Busy sorting wing feathers. Call me back when that lying sack of sated dung beetles is no longer your leader."

Can you blame her one bit? But I petitioned again, more urgently this time, and she has joined me for scones. Please give a warm, wonderful, "Gods Are Bored" welcome to Ma'at, Goddess of Justice!

Anne: Thank you so much for coming! You must be furious about the lack of justice in America right now.

Ma'at: Honestly, Anne? When was America ever a just nation? Just because Americans recite "and liberty and justice for all" every damn day doesn't make it happen.

Anne: You've got a point, o winged wonder. But Ma'at ... I've been searching high and low for you because America needs you, right now! It's a small but crucial assignment, and I sure hope you'll accept it.

Ma'at: Well, tell me what it is, and I'll check my Outlook calendar to see if I'm available.

Anne: Snap, I'm impressed, Goddess! I can't figure out Outlook calendar to save my life! Not surprised deities can do it, though.

Ma'at: So, what is it, and when do you need me?

Anne: It's this, and I'm about 10,000 times more serious than usual: Our great justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, is having health problems. She's 85 and still on the job -- trying to hold out for a sensible president to replace her, instead of the Orange Gibbon currently in charge.

Ma'at: 85, you say? That's advanced age, right there. Any kind of health problem or surgery can really take a toll on a person of that many years.

Anne: I know, I know! I'm worried sick! Ma'at, will you please, please, please drop whatever else you're doing and take up protective watch over Ruth Bader Ginsburg?

Ma'at: That's a pretty cheeky request, Anne! You think I don't have anything else to do? I'm busy all the time! I have a thriving praise and worship team, not to mention all the superior art work to supervise.

Anne: Dear Goddess, it is with the utmost humility that I approach you and petition you to protect Justice Ginsburg. I'll put it to you this way: Who cribbed your holy edicts and passed them off as original?

Ma'at: The Judeo-Christians, that's who!

Anne: Well, a good passel of them are praying that Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies.

Ma'at: Say no more. I'll put my other appointments on hold. Where can I find this Justice Ginsburg?

Anne: Washington, DC, I think. She works there, and if she's resting at home, I assume her home is there. Not sure, though. But you're a Goddess, Ma'at! You can find this person, can't you?

Ma'at: Consider it done! However, I require something from you (and whoever else reads this) in return. Please petition Me to do this important job. I want to be recognized for my contributions to *ahem* American "justice."

Anne: Trust me, Ma'at. I'm going to be praying to You daily. This is some serious shit here. I have children to think of -- daughters and students -- who need Justice Ginsburg alive and on the bench. To my three readers, I say (and I have never said this before) ... Please petition the Goddess Ma'at to preserve and protect Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg! We need her. Oh, please, Ma'at .....