Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," end-of-2021 edition! As always I am your charming hostess, Anne Johnson.
The Mummers Parade has been delayed one day due to rain. I thought I would fill the time by recollecting all the highlights of 2021.
Literally. Because it's that time again ... The Philadelphia Mummers Parade!
And for the first time in the 10 years since I've been marching, the forecast is calling for rain.
Okay, 2021. Surprise me.
A week before Xmas break, my daughter The Heir phoned me to tell me her house mate had tested positive for COVID. By Wednesday, December 22, Heir's boyfriend was running a fever and experiencing all the flu-like symptoms you might expect with a breakthrough infection. Heir and her boyfriend both stood in line for two and a half hours for PCR tests, and they didn't get the results back for three days. He was positive, she was negative.
Needless to say, Heir and her boyfriend were scratches for Xmas. The Fair came with her boyfriend (and her endlessly fascinating cat, Bijoux), but we all felt like COVID won another battle.
Now the weather is threatening the Mummers Parade. Gotta say that would be a perfect capstone to a dreadful year.
Or maybe it's the beginning to another Bullshit Year from Suck City, 2022. We don't need a crystal ball to see that Roe v. Wade is fucked, or that no meaningful social change will happen in America, or that this virus will continue to plague us. It's like we've been dumped into Republican Hell and are totally at the mercy of Bible-thumping blowhards.
Speaking of Bible-thumping, did you see that NASA hired a bunch of religious experts to predict how the faithful of various sects would react to the news of life on other planets? I am VERY INSULTED that they didn't hire me! I could give them chapter and verse on two dozen deities from a dozen pantheons. But NOOOO, let's talk to the Baptists!
I wonder if NASA hired a Pagan. Fat chance, huh?
Well, it's a question to pose to bored deities if I can get any to drop by in the next few weeks. I believe that some of them have subcontracted to other solar systems in the past, but don't quote me until I can get a few of them on the record.
P.S. - if you are looking for Yellowdog Granny, she's doing an end run around Blogger. her site is now https://westbygoddesstexas.blogspot.com. Go and see the nice holiday meal she set up for her Meals on Wheels buddies!
I blame Big Tobacco.
Despite their best efforts, Americans have finally turned up their noses, for the most part, at tobacco products. So Big Tobacco looked for a new market and found China. Yes, that China.
Chinese men are nuts for their cigarettes. I had to toss my exchange student because he was smoking in my house. He wouldn't hear of trying any cessation techniques. And all his exchange student pals smoked like smokestacks too. This is going to be a big public health problem for China in years to come.
You know that nation isn't going to take this lying down. And thus we got TikTok.
Tobacco is a scourge that affects the lungs. TikTok is a scourge that affects the brain. In case you didn't know it, TikTok is owned and run by the Chinese.
My students have the attention span of chipmunks. Instagram has helped, but TikTok reigns supreme in senseless distraction.
But wait. There's more.
TikTok users have been issuing "challenges." As in, October was "Slap a Teacher Month." The idea was to assault a teacher and record it on video to show on TikTok. I feel like the hacking of my online Parent Night Google Meet was probably filmed for TikTok.
Each month has its own challenge.
Last week some TikTok shitbird posted that Friday, December 17 would be National School Shooter Day. This prompted my school district to send a message to all parents, staff, and students that there were no credible threats against our school. The district also promised an enhanced police presence on campus on December 17.
The result? Almost half the students at my school took a nice long weekend, skipping school on December 17.
I didn't see an enhanced police presence at my school on December 17. I can see the arrival of police cars and ambulances from the windows at my school. Shit happens occasionally, and our administration is tight-lipped about it. But I know that there are severe ramifications for any student who threatens the school. We also have an armed cop on campus at all times.
I also know that many of my students know someone who has been victimized by gun violence. It's not a game to them. When you have seen the ramifications of firearms, you're far less likely to play with them the way these troubled white boys do.
All this is my way of saying that I did not feel unsafe at school on December 17, and I understand why so many students stayed home. It was very quiet in the school.
As it happened, I sat in the faculty lunch room with the security guards and lunch ladies that day, which I haven't been doing due to Covid. I love the security guards and lunch ladies. They are by far my favorite people to hang with at school. We had a great time discussing local sports, cooking tips, and where they were going for happy hour. No one mentioned the school shooting business.
I survived the fiasco without a scratch. But I fear that the TikTok scourge has only just begun. Teenagers' brains aren't fully formed in the areas where judgment and reasoning are concerned. They are ripe for "challenges" and inspired by seeing others get away with stuff. TikTok gives them a blueprint for bad behavior.
I did it. Just don't tell any administrator, okay? I know I can trust you.
I talked about bored Gods in school.
This is the first year I have ever had upperclassmen. And I have them, by golly! One class of 13 juniors.
They are my first class in the morning. Because we are short on buses, some of them have to get picked up at 5:45. (The buses have to run multiple routes.)
So what I actually have is 13 of the sleepiest people on the planet, at 7:45 in the morning, and I'm expected to engage them.
Trouble is, the junior curriculum for my district is ridiculous. I can't see how it would engage them to spend 8 weeks on Fahrenheit 451, when half of them would gladly burn every book in the room.
In these cases I always fall back on Antigone, by Sophocles.
Have you read it? It's about a brave young woman who defies the decree of a dictator to bury her brother, because the laws of the Gods are more important than the laws of men. Of course she pays for it with her life, but damn. Girl has some spine.
I like teaching something where the female lead is badass.
Antigone is not in the curriculum. But I feel like if some admin wanders in, I can say, "Oh yes, I'm teaching Sophocles," and that will be acceptable.
Oh, and if you haven't come across this 2,200+ year-old wonder, it's short! Two quick acts, and everyone dies in the end. Appreciate that, because it takes Shakespeare five acts to slaughter his casts.
But ah, there's a rub.
When the title character, Antigone, talks about following the laws of God, she's not talking about Yahweh. She's talking about Zeus. And as you can imagine, I make that crystal clear from the get-go.
So today, as I looked out over 13 sets of glazed eyes, I asked: "Emmm... people really worshiped Zeus. Those people would be offended if you called Zeus a 'myth.' And in the Bible, God says, 'You shall have no other gods but Me. Clearly implying that there are other Gods. So, students ... sit up ... open your eyes ... Where is Zeus now?"
This opened up a semi-lively discussion, which included (in no particular order) the fact that Africans brought into slavery were forced to be Christians when they had their own Gods, the fact that some people who worship Thor are racists, and the fact that we don't know much about the majority of our planet; namely, the part that's under water.
Wow! A philosophical discussion at my school, at 8:00 in the morning!
One student said he thinks Zeus is satisfied with His status with us moderns, because at least we know who He is. Which made me ask the students, "What happens to Gods whose names are forgotten?"
No one had an answer for that. But I'll bet they think about it after the basketball scrimmage. Well, maybe not.
First time my day job and my blog have intersected. It was fun.
How far would you drive for a quart of ice cream and some local oysters?
Let me add some detail to that question. How far would you drive for some award-winning small-batch cinnamon ice cream and a quart of freshly-shucked oysters from a local trawler?
Yeah, I thought so. You would throw all thoughts of gas prices to the wind.
The weekend before Thanksgiving, I was as fried as a slab of Virginia ham. Mr. J had ordered some ice cream from the Scottish Highland Creamery in Oxford, Maryland, and we agreed to drive down to get it. Oxford used to be too far for a day trip, but Delaware (yes, it does exist) just opened a nice highway to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, and now scenic Oxford is less than a two-hour drive.
But you know what happens when a place is quicker to get to, and you've been there 10,000 times? You go farther afield. Last summer we rented a place in Cambridge, Maryland. It's not far from Oxford, but it's not touristy. Less crowded, less posh, more genuine. We loved it immediately.
In Cambridge last summer we found the local fish store. And you just know what a fish store on the Chesapeake Bay has in abundance in November, right? Lovely big snotty oysters!
But you know what happens when you just found a new fun place last summer and you're fried like a ham? You wind up way the Hell out on an island in the Chesapeake, sea-glassing your fried little eyeballs out.
EXHIBIT A: LOOK AT THAT SHIT-EATING GRIN!
All that driving, and we still got home by 7:00. And don't try to pry the location out of me, but I got five goddamn pounds of sea glass. A quart of oysters. Three quarts of cinnamon ice cream.
And for a few days, I wasn't fried. More like soothingly marinated in a beach glass bath.
The Supreme Court has become completely political. I have no faith in it at all.
I didn't have any faith even before the most recent abortion case. My public sector union watched as this court (minus two of the horrors sitting on it now) overturned a case regarding collective bargaining.
Now, Trump supporters are going to get their fondest wish: an end to safe and legal abortions for women in states with scant health care.
During the arguments, Amy Coney Barrett said that adoption is easier now than it used to be. How can someone who has birthed children not see that every pregnancy takes a toll on the body? Maybe I'm assuming she's human. I could be wrong.
But watch: This same court will hand down a dozen pro-gun decisions. After all, you've got a right to life until you're born. Then it's a crapshoot.
I do not see how the U.S. Supreme Court can rebound from its partisan tilt. The way this was achieved is nefarious, and it cannot be undone.
When I started this blog, I belittled and pooh-poohed the Christian radicals who were making so much self-righteous noise. But they have achieved their goal. By this summer, half of the women in America will be unable to control their own bodies.
My friends, the radical "prayer warriors" have been praying over this for 50 years. Will this be a lasting victory for them, or will the consequences plow them under? I hope they inherit the wind.
A post-Thanksgiving, bloated welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Hope you had a pleasant Turkey Day.
Thank you to all readers who participated in my daughter The Fair's research questionnaire! If you haven't done it yet, it's the post below this one. Fair was very pleasantly surprised by the level of engagement. So please keep "The Gods Are Bored" relevant to all cutting edge scholars ... fill out the questionnaire!
Today's sermon: Adopt, don't shop!
You see it all over this time of year: some big SUV with a giant groomed pine lashed to the hood. Or, think about those Christmas tree lots. You go in, run your fingers down a sculpted bough, and 70 needles fall off and drift to the ground. And the price? Fifty bucks for a pretty sickly specimen. Upwards of one fifty for something big and healthy.
Well, I do love a fresh Yule tree. There's something about bringing a tree inside the house that appeals to my school-weary spirit. It's not only festive, it's nourishing to the soul.
I guess it was three years ago that I happened to find myself at a stop light, and I looked to my left and saw a vacant lot. As you might expect in a state that is 1/3 covered with Pine Barrens, the lot had a bunch of pine seedlings growing up, each one about the height of a Christmas tree. The only difference being that these seedlings were somewhat scraggly, and they sport long needles (which I actually prefer).
Something clicked in my head. I could snip down a pine from a vacant lot! Nobody would miss it. I would be able to carry it myself, it would be fresher with fewer boughs to deck, and best of all ... can't beat that price, which is free!
Thus began my new tradition of adopting a feral tree rather than purchasing an expensive (mostly dead) one from the landscaping store.
EXHIBIT A: FERAL TREE
Hello to all ten of you "Gods Are Bored" faithful! Can you believe it? My daughter The Fair is in graduate school. And she is killing it. While working 25 hours a week. Seems like just yesterday she was being disrespected by the Karen moms on the playground.
The Fair needs lots of people to take this survey she created about news sources and late-night comedy shows. Would you please oblige? You'll help educate a fine young mind.
It takes about five minutes.
Thank you from the staff at "The Gods Are Bored!"
You might want to tiptoe away from this installment of "The Gods Are Bored." I'm sweating bullets myself. No one wants to see this creature coming up the walk.
Anne: Ummm ... uhhhh ... is it my time? Or someone who lives here? There are some ants in the cupboard that you can have ... ahhh .... not my Gamma cat, please. Or Mr. J, he makes such good pies!
Reaper: I have come with a message.
Anne: OH NO WHO IS GONNA GET IT????
Reaper: Many will get it. "It" being an untimely visit from me.
Anne: When you say "many," do you mean "many members of Anne's family" or "many people" in general?
Reaper: Many people in general. There are plagues afoot in America.
Anne: Don't I know it! But I got my vaccines, and my booster, and my flu shot, and I'm going to get Shingrix over Christmas ... and...
Reaper: SHUT UP A MINUTE OR ELSE.
Reaper: Your country is in the throes of multiple plagues. And no one seems to care. There's that illness Covid, and there's the opiate epidemic, and the gun thing. I am cutting down people in the prime of life. People who should be home with their families and friends.
Reaper: You may reply.
Anne: I was just going to say that both guns and opiate addiction are serious public health crises that no one seems to be taking seriously. There was a teenager out in Wisconsin just this week who got a free pass after shooting three people. To say nothing of all the gun violence in Philadelphia.
Reaper: It is thus everywhere right now.
Anne: I know! Gee, it's almost like the people profiting off guns and opiates don't care about who they harm.
Reaper: And that's the small stuff. The oil, coal, and gas barons are keeping me so busy with all these natural disasters. I have had to hire more staff.
Anne: I daresay. But Sir, or Your Majesty, or Your Grand Wazooness (How does one address the Grim Reaper?), what can I do? I feel like the horse is out of the barn with both opiates and guns. There's no way America can take all the weapons out of circulation. And doctors continue to prescribe opiates in great quantities.
Reaper: I know you are about to acquire some property. Do not buy a gun to "defend" it.
Anne: Wasn't planning to, honestly. The last gun I fired was a BB gun in day camp when I was 10. I almost shot my eye out. But Your Highness, I do so worry about my daughters in the city! There have been more than 450 deaths in Philadelphia this year to date.
Reaper: You're telling ME this?
Anne: Oh! My bad! So sorry! Of course you know all about it! I guess what I have learned in my many years (which I hope will be extended many more) is that the people who have the means of production do not care one whit about how their products are abused. As long as the bottom line is green in their ledger, they couldn't care less. And I am powerless to affect this. I do my part for climate change. I'm sure you don't notice, but it's cold in here because I'm trying to burn less fuel. I also have a clothesline. Soon I will own four acres of trees that will not be cut down. But guns and drugs? I feel so powerless.
Reaper: You are powerless over capitalism. It must run its ugly course.
Anne: I figured as much. Ummm ... can I offer you a warm beverage?
Anne: Oh, gee! Look at the time! I have to run to Petco to get some cat food! I mean, I hope there will be a need for cat food ...
Reaper: I am not going to take your cat. Or you. Not today.
Anne: (gulps) Tomorrow?????
Reaper: That is for me to know.
Anne: It sure is, Your Excellency. But I wonder. What will be the ultimate fate of Kyle Rittenhouse?
Reaper: Live by the sword, die by the sword.
Anne: I expect so. Guns are made to be used, and lots of people with guns don't like that kid. So! Umm. Is there anything else today? Because that cat food ...
Reaper: That is all. Have a nice day.
Anne: (big sigh of relief) Oh trust me, I will!
Actually I have plenty of cat food. It was the best dodge I could think of in a pinch. Dang. Close call.
Photo found here.
I wonder if people living in 3421 will look back on us and find us primitive? If the species survives, that is.
I ask this question because the weirdest thing happened to me, and my scientific dogma wants to dismiss it. But I just can't.
All through this Samhain season I have talked to my ancestors in all the usual ways that I do it. The only difference this year was the awesome Moth Man vigil candle I got for my shrine, something my dad would have loved.
The night before Halloween, there was an alert about a solar storm that could possibly cause the Northern Lights to be seen as far south as New Jersey. It's on my bucket list to see the Northern Lights, but I know it won't happen from the comfort of my home. The light pollution is intense around here.
No matter. After dark I went upstairs and looked out the bedroom window towards the north.
And in the split second I found myself looking out, a meteor streaked across the sky.
This had to be a whopper of a meteor to be seen over the light pollution. It might be the first time I ever saw a meteor from home. And the Orionids peaked two weeks ago, and it was only about 10:00 pm.
The day after Halloween, I got a message from the seller of the property I want to buy. She got the survey, and it's all systems "go." At the very latest I'll make the transaction next April during my spring break. Perhaps earlier if it can be done remotely.
I hadn't heard a word from the seller since August and was beginning to believe she had changed her mind.
The skeptic in me says it was a total coincidence that I happened to hear about a solar storm, and I happened to be standing by the window when a meteor blew by that happened to be bright enough to beat the light pollution. But this time the spiritual me says, "Yo, your fam be winkin' at you from beyond the Veil."
And I just can't stop thinking about that land. It's the perfect place to watch a meteor shower.
It seems like an eternity since Labor Day, but Samhain 2021 is finally upon us. It's the time when spirits walk among us and we remember our Ancestors and thank them for giving us life.
And if you're Anne, it's time to get your chaos on.
EXHIBIT A: I PITY THE EVIL SPIRIT
And that's my outdoor shrine, looking extra spiffy. My daughter The Heir gave me some flea market candle holders made of crystals glued together. One day I felt the need for extra power, so I dismantled the candle holders and put all the crystals on my shrine. And yes indeed, the extra Earth energy is very helpful.
Have you seen this hashtag thingy #whatwitcheslooklike2021? The idea is to take a really plain photo of yourself and post it to show that witches are like everybody else. Trouble is, when you look at a whole bunch of these all together, they just all look like extraordinary people. Photo after photo, there's just something in the eye, or the tilt of the chin, or the attire or setting, that just broadcasts "HEY I AM A WITCH!"
So I am going to try really hard here to put up a photo of myself that doesn't look a single bit witchy.
EXHIBIT B: #WHATWITCHESLOOKLIKE2021
EXHIBIT C: AS ABOVE
Damn. That sounds witchy. Back to the photo queue.
EXHIBIT D: AS ABOVE
This hits the spot. On the beach at Cape May last November. That could be anybody.
But part of the fun of being witchy is dressing the part, don't you think?
EXHIBIT E: AS ABOVE
PS: I got poison ivy on my arm from holding onto that tiny tree trunk.
Howdy howdy howdy and welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" I'm Anne Johnson, and I have been saying the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag since 1964. It has gotten old. So for the past 25 years or more, I've been leaving out the "liberty and justice for all" part. Because, get real. Where's the justice in American society?
But it's a trifle sensitive trying to explain that to my guest tonight, Justitia, the Goddess of ... you guessed it ... justice! She joined me for dinner, and we're sitting here digesting, so let's give this lovely Lady and her balance scales a warm, wonderful "Gods Are Bored" welcome!
Justitia: Well, it was good and bad. Tasted fine, but the portion was too small.
Anne: Oh gosh! Sorry! Do you want seconds?
Justitia: I have rendered my decision on the matter. Case closed.
Anne: To be honest, Your Honor, I could be persuaded to go out for a soft serve ice cream.
Justitia: Motion is approved! You may approach the bench.
Anne: But before we sojourn to the ice cream shop, I want to ask your opinion on something.
Justitia: Opinions are my thing. Justly rendered, of course.
Anne: Of course! Well, Justitia, it has come to my attention that someone very high in the chain of command at my workplace has an extraordinarily low opinion of me. So low, in fact, that this person thought students would be better served by a substitute teacher than by me.
Justitia: Well, what are the students being served? If it's chicken cacciatore, the substitute might be more generous.
Anne (aside) These Roman deities are so human, aren't they? (to Justitia) No food involved, just education. A teacher is out sick, and I offered to cover her class. The principal was all for it, but the higher-up wasn't having it.
Justitia: It's probably about money.
Anne: Nah, money's not a factor. I know from talking to ex employees of my firm that this particular power-broker holds me in very low esteem. My problem is, this person may come in to evaluate me at some point this year.
Justitia: Why, how very liberating!
Anne: What do you mean?
Justitia: If you know that they hold you in low esteem, then no matter how brilliantly you perform, it won't matter. So why perform at all? Everything this person says about you is tainted by bias, thus rendering the person incapable of forming a true opinion of your worth.
Anne: You know, I didn't think of that! You're absolutely right! Nothing I do or say is going to convince this person I'm a good teacher. I could get a citation from the governor, and I would still be stuck with the nines.
Justitia: Therefore you should not expect justice from the person, nor court it, nor even care. Knowing you can't please this individual frees you from having to try.
Anne: Justitia, Great and Mighty Goddess, I am going to fix you up with a to-go container of chicken cacciatore! And here, take these bagels ... they are terrific. And here's a handful of Halloween candy, mostly Snickers.
Anne: Soft serve ice cream! I'll get my coat and car keys!
When was the last time I interviewed a bored deity? A long time. But I can't blame them for boycotting me. Who wants to talk to a human wreck who can't even keep her upholstery clean?
This is just a follow-up on the hate crime in my classroom. To recap, a student wrote the "n" word on a Black student's paper during a time when everyone was circulating around the room. The student who received the slur reported it as a HIB (harassment, intimidation, and bullying).
I turned in a ton of handwriting samples to the administration, and this helped them to determine whose handwriting best fit the scrawl on the paper. They clearly identified a boy and proceeded to grill him about it. He cried. He pleaded innocence. His tears moved the vice principals.
They didn't see the look the kid shot me in between grillings. With face masks, all I can see is eyes. But that's all you need to see, really.
Long story short, another student confessed to the crime. The student said he didn't know the paper belonged to an African American student. He said he thought it was funny. And he said he imitated his best friend's handwriting.
This satisfied the administrators and the girl. The boy who confessed was removed from my class. The girl is back.
The boy with the distinctive handwriting and menacing glare is still in my class.
It's unrealistic to expect that I'll never have issues like this in my classroom. But by and large, the students at my school are pretty dedicated and respectful. And the baddies don't last. But with a TikTok challenge called "Slap a Teacher," I am on my guard.
I've got a wand. I found a piece of rose quartz at the beach over the weekend. I put up a grid of the Four Quarters on my desk. Every day I wear my Witch Ball and my copper bracelet.
There are no atheists in the foxhole.
You know what? Before I became a teacher, I complained about my neighborhood, politics, and religion. Never my job. Oh, how I long for those days.
For those of you just joining the chorus at "The Gods Are Bored," I'm a school teacher at a vo-tech just east of Camden, NJ.
Earlier in the school year, I got trolled on parent night by someone who posted the "n" word and also called me a white cracker. It was good for a few laughs in the teachers' lounge.
But on Thursday, I was doing a "gallery walk" for my students' writers notebooks. The students were walking around the room, commenting on one another's notebook entries. And someone in the room wrote the "n" word on the paper of an African American student.
In all my years of teaching, I've never seen ... yada yada yada Doesn't matter. My jaw dropped and hasn't returned to normal.
The wronged student filed a report on the incident (as did I) but will not come back to class, because the criminal who wrote the word is still in my room. I know it because every kid who was there on the day it happened came back the next day -- except the victim, who is one of my brightest kids this year.
Someone in the room has been convicted in the court of public opinion, but that's not enough to get them out of my class, and out of the school. There has to be convincing proof. Which means that on Friday, I had to conduct class as if the incident hadn't even happened, hoping to collect a writing sample from each kid featuring a capital G.
I will say right out of the gate that the perpetrator could not have been Caucasian, because I only have one Caucasian kid that period (out of 23 kids total), and he's a baa lamb who sits on the other side of the room.
There's nothing quite like having to call the parent of the wronged student to apologize and try to make amends. When I say I have been shaking like a leaf and sick to my stomach since it happened, I do not exaggerate.
As a teacher, I feel like I am the captain of the ship. If someone is injured on my watch, it's my fault. And this is the worst injury a student can face in my school, short of being slam-dunked or shot. I feel horrible.
I haven't gotten blowback from administration -- yet. But that may change when I insist that the suspect be re-assigned to another classroom, even if they can't prove he did it. (The suspect is tearfully proclaiming his innocence.)
The worst part of this is not being able to flip my shit about it in front of the whole class. I have a lot of African American students in there, and I'm sure they're concluding I don't give a damn about them. Never mind the cute little Hispanic girls who are sure they know who did it, but they can't be positive, but they want to see justice served.
BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE! Every day droves of students are going home, infected with Covid or quarantining. Seven students got called out of my 9th period class on Friday. Word on the street has it that kids left on Wednesday non-stop from beginning to end.
I need the pay and benefits at my job. If I didn't, I would quit.
I would honestly rather be writing about Jeff Bozos and the Big Blue
Dick Horizon, but it's hardly on my mind.
Breaking out every charm, ointment, and spell I can use to set this right. My teacher desk is going to look very interesting on Monday. I'll try to take a photo.
Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," home of one proficient (not distinguished) teacher. If you're a teacher yourself, you probably know just what I mean.
I totally expected the transition back to full-time teaching to be stressful. How could it not be? Last year I spent most of my days "teaching" from a recliner, while covered by the ample rump of Gamma Cat.
But this transition has been horrible. Worse than anticipation by a country mile.
I won't even go into the standardized testing (seven days out of the first 25, including the past two days). Nor will I dwell upon the fact that the assistant superintendent decided that the AP Lit kids would be better off with a substitute teacher than with me, when their teacher went out for emergency surgery. (Long story)
But what I will dwell upon here is toxic positivity. It's been a problem in my school district ever since I've been there.
Maybe you have this poison in your workplace, too?
"Let's all be positive here! If you just try being positive, you'll feel better!"
When someone says this, here's what I actually hear:
"It really sucks to work here, but don't you dare acknowledge that. Cover it up with a smile, and take whatever drugs you have to in order to keep that smile on your ugly mug."
Today we had another round of standardized testing. I hate using the computer programs and often fuck it up (including today). And yet two administrators tried to coax one of those phony baloney smiles out of me.
I wasn't having it. I'll smile when there's reason to smile, not because I'm told to smile.
But wait. There's more!
At lunchtime I have a paid "duty" in the cafeteria. I enjoy it, actually, because I'm buddies with all the janitors, and we joke around. Today, the new vice principal came in. She asked me how I was doing, and I admitted to being pretty stressed out.
Her response? "Ah, just have a glass of wine when you get home."
Free advice to my three readers: Never recommend a glass of wine for a stressed-out employee! You might be speaking to an alcoholic.
This is what I mean by "toxic positivity." Instead of recommending a glass of wine, middle managers should be taught how to acknowledge the reality and severity of the stress. Just fucking listen.
OMG INTERRUPTING THIS RANT FOR A WORSE ONE!
William Shatner breaking down in tears because Jeff Bozos sent him into orbit? GAG ME WITH A PLATINUM SPOON.
Two years. No festivals. It's enough to make a girl weep.
Okay, call me frivolous and silly if you like. I prefer to see myself as a chaotic magician in need of charging my skills through joyous and unusual festivities.
Words matter, right?
Anyway, it's been quite awhile since I had the opportunity to charge my chaotic magic, but I did so in spades over the weekend.
For two decades, Spoutwood Farm hosted Fairy Festivals. The final one was in 2018, and we moved to a venue near Baltimore in 2019. Here's a nice photo from that shindig:
EXHIBIT A: THEN
If you are in on this kind of magic, you see the power here. If you're not, wow! Look at that sky!
Well, the pandemic descended, and all revels were cancelled in 2020. Then 2021 hove into sight, and the revels were cancelled again. Not that I blame anybody. No one wants to go cavort in a field with their best friends and wind up with a novel coronavirus as a souvenir.
Over the summer, one of the chief revelers from the Fairy Festival arranged an event called "Lesstival" that would be open to those who volunteered their time to previous large festivals. And this one would be back at Spoutwood!
And so, with vaccine cards in hand, a few of us arrived at Spoutwood, donned our outlandish garb, and indulged in chaotic magic. I used the opportunity to re-charge my working wand, using Spoutwood energy. And now my wand is flat-out humming with power!
Spoutwood Farm is a beautiful location in the piedmont hills of York County, PA. It did get quite trampled during the many festivals there, and eventually the fair outgrew the farm. Now, three and a half years out from the last gathering there, the farm has transformed. The vines are thicker, the trees are larger, and the wooded areas are entirely the realm of the fae again. Just don't go in there, okay? It's lush and alluring. How very fairy.
So a few of us gathered at Spoutwood. We had music, and a Burning Man bonfire, and we danced a Maypole. Yes, a Maypole in October!
EXHIBIT B: NOW
If you look real close, that's me by the tree, contemplating the long, strange trip that led to a Maypole dance in October.
Wow! Since we were adults, led by the owner of Spoutwood Farm, we actually wrapped that Maypole with panache! And had fun doing it. I came away from this mini-festival chock-a-block with chaos.
The best part of this festival was it had a nice long morning of downtime while all the tipplers nursed their hangovers. So I was able to take a charming drive through rural PA (complete with Amish buggies) and find a new waterfall for my collection! Look at this lovely falls!
EXHIBIT C: MILL CREEK FALLS, YORK COUNTY, PA
This was my weekend, soaking up some mayhem in the land of the fairies. It was so refreshing!
Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where surprises lurk like tripping hazards around every corner! I'm your befuddled host, Anne Johnson, proficient school teacher.
Once a year during the first week of October, public schools fling wide their doors for an evening event called -- variously -- Parent Night or Back-to-School Night. In the case of my school, this extravaganza also includes presentations and tours for potential students, since we are a magnet school.
This year, some person in the top ranks of our command squad decided that Covid risks are alarming enough to turn the bulk of Parent Night virtual. Interested 8th graders and their families would still be welcome in the building, but parents of existing students would have to come to Google Meets online.
So the command squad ordered each of us to create individual Meet links, and then the squad put all these links up on the school web site, with our names on them. The sun set over Camden, and we teachers reported to our classrooms and opened our Google Meets.
Parents started trickling in for me right away, considering that I now have 7 classes total.
About 30 minutes into the ordeal, it was time for the parents of my first class of freshmen to log in. So, the way Google Meet works is that someone asks to join and I (the teacher) have to admit them. Which of course I was admitting everyone, because email names and such are wacko to begin with.
Have you noticed that this younger generation is more technologically savvy than their elders?
My Meet attracted trolls with bad grammar and spelling and worse language. There I was, trying to tell parents about how I grade silent reading, while the "chat bar" was filling with the "n" word from some user who actually even blocked their ID in the chat. The ordeal culminated with a comment about Romeo and Juliet that suggested the play should be buggered by me, a white cracker (and some more insults) smoking that fine weed.
With the help of text messages from colleagues, I was able to purge the Meet of the monsters and resume affable chatting with parents. Certainly not my fault that the command put all those Google Meet links on a public platform.
If you are retired from the ed biz, like my friend Ol' Buzzard, you are very lucky indeed. Apparently this upstart social media platform named TikTok is giving youngsters the idea to film acts of vandalism and mayhem in the school setting. October, for instance, is "slap a teacher" month. I have no doubt that "disrupt online Parent Night" was a "challenge" as well.
Lord love a cross-eyed fruit fly! And to think I am staring down the barrel of seven more Parent Nights before I can hang up my chalk and retire! I think I may have to downsize the dreams of my golden years.
Have you ever asked a teenager what they want to do with their life? I'll put this another way: When you were a teenager, what did you want to do with your life?
I had a solid career goal myself. I wanted to be on "The Partridge Family."
This year a new career goal has surfaced among the students at my school. More than one student, both genders, report wanting to be a "content creator" or an "influencer."
The ready availability of uncensored social media platforms has made many teens long to be influential through posting something on TikTok or YouTube. They are now listing "content creator" as career goals.
I really think it's a shame that people think of Tide pod-eating when the words "content creator" get flung out there. In its basic concept, "content creating" is making something that didn't exist before. The idea of content creation casts a wide net, and that's why I am proud to say I am a content creator for "The Gods Are Bored!"
The difference between me and my students is that they want millions of followers, while I'm completely and blissfully satisfied with 225. Well, ahem, I would love for the Smithsonian Institution to accept my petition for immortality, but hey. You can't win them all.
Sometimes I'm frivolous. On rare occasions I'm serious. But funny or not, I'm fine with the appellation of "content creator." For 20 happy years I created content for reference books (and wrote a few books myself), but I think "content creator" actually fits me better than "author." Certainly fits me better than "thinker" or "sage" or some such.
Now, let's move on to this whole "influencer" thing. I definitely want to be an Internet influencer, and my cat is not pulling his weight in this regard.
This is in every way akin to how bored deities feel. All you want is a few disciples, a few faithful to light up a shrine or something on your behalf. But the field is crowded. So many content creators, so many influencers! No wonder perfectly sound Goddesses wind up selling funnel cakes at the flea market. It's a cold, hard world out there.
Boost my cat, will you? And poor Sedna ... will you boost Her too? So grateful!
I know I'm a bad person. I know I have a wicked side. I know I have the capacity to take others' suffering lightly, if I feel the suffering to be a matter of hubris. I've got a cold streak. I don't suffer fools.
Years and years ago, when Mr. J and I first moved to Haterfield, one of his journalist colleagues dropped by to say hello. At that time dear Decibel the Parrot was just a young stripling, but he had already learned how to shred skin on fingers with his big ol' beak.
Mr. J's colleague asked me, "Does your bird bite?"
"Oh yes," I replied.
Not even lying, the dude walked over to the cage and stuck his finger in. Decibel lived up to his reputation and bit the guy to the quick.
I could not help but laugh at that fellow. Hubris! It's a bitch.
Well, readers, that bitch hubris is having a whopper of a romp these days, and the Internet is a perfect park for a romp.
Here for your perusal is a website, Sorry, Antivaxxer. On this site, an enterprising hubris hunter has compiled a list of names and photos of people who loudly spurned the COVID vaccine and then succumbed to the disease.
My friends, you are entitled to your bodily autonomy, and you have the right to refuse a vaccine. But if you openly ridicule the vaccine and the people who take it, and then you get the illness and die of it, you sadly deserve a heaping helping of derision.
I feel sorry for people who quietly decide not to take the COVID vaccine, and then get the illness. But I have no qualms about "Sorry, Antivaxxer." Some book I might have read somewhere says, "As you sow, so shall you reap." And if you sow disinformation, if you make light of a deadly illness, if you belittle people who don't think the way you do, well then. Your reap may be done by the Grim Reaper.
Again, just to be clear, I do have sympathy for people who contract severe COVID after avoiding the vaccine. But my sympathy ends abruptly for the vocal, sarcastic anti-vaxxers who loudly seek to convince people not to protect themselves.
You've got to wonder, too, about the people who ingest medication used to de-worm horses in an effort to prevent or treat COVID. What are people thinking? I don't use Gamma Cat's flea medicine to treat my earaches.
Okay, it's not very Christian of me to lack sympathy for certain people. But hey! I'm not a Christian! I don't have to feel sorry for those who wallow in hubris and then inherit the wind. What a relief!
Today I took a half sick day. I went out to lunch and then to the swimming pool. I also called my doctor and got an appointment.
I left early because I was having a panic attack.
Since school began on September 7, five of my students have gone out on quarantine (after one tested positive for COVID). I can't get these teenagers to wear their masks properly unless I am looking straight at them.
School started on September 7, and on September 13 we started district-wide standardized testing. This is done through an expensive online platform that the district purchased a subscription to. The test took 3 full days and part of a fourth. I looked at the junior-level test. It was excruciatingly hard.
Today, September 21 (full moon), we had a practice for another standardized test, this one run by the state of New Jersey. Can you believe we spent 75 minutes practicing how to take a standardized test?
The real standardized test is scheduled for three days next week.
I had a panic attack because I always do when I have to administer a state standardized test. I'm so afraid I'm going to do something that ruins the students' scores that I'm much more likely to actually do it. The expensive testing platform programs are confusing to use.
So I asked my administration not to assign me the job of running the practice test, and they went ahead and assigned me anyway. There is literally no one in the school administration who worked on the last state test in the spring of 2019. Not one administrator who remembered that I have difficulties doing this.
Well, y'all will be proud of me, because I schooled the entire administration today. I melted down and was openly flustered and upset. When an administrator came in to help me create a new password (I just made a new one two days ago), I made the password HellonEarth1! and made sure the admin saw it.
The irony is that the whole practice was a fiasco school-wide, and my class got going first by some strange mystery.
When the practice test was winding to a close, one of the administrators came to apologize to me. But she wasn't among the ones I asked to assign me a benign testing duty. My guess is that she drew the short straw. But it only made me feel worse when someone apologized to me for something she didn't know about.
If I could comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, I would shut down all the Big School corporations that create and administer standardized tests. You can't believe how many there are. And how much money they make. And how bad they make kids feel about themselves. And how stressed they make the teachers who have to run the testing.
Pearson, Linkit, Kaplan, and all companies that "gather data": go suck a cactus. I'll bet your CEOs go hob-nobbing at Davos every year. I'll bet they would taste good if slow-cooked with some root vegetables.
Hardest school year since my second, so far. So glad I didn't spend my life in this profession.
I spend too much time on Facebook. Click "Like" if you do too.
One of the reasons I spend so much time there is that there are so many pages with topics that are vitally interesting to me. How can I resist a Facebook page called The Turkey Vulture Society? It's candy to me, I tell you. Candy.
I also follow a page called "For the Love of Crows." Because, you know, if you can't be with a vulture you love, love the crow you're with.
Yesterday a young woman posted on "For the Love of Crows" that crows are her "spirit animal." It didn't take two second for a sniffy person to comment that "spirit animal" is a cultural appropriation that shouldn't be used. The concept of spirit animals is Native American, and we white Europeans have no right to it.
I have been as guilty as anyone in this. For years I called vultures my "spirit animal," my "totem," and on and on. I call them Sacred Thunderbirds, the Native American description, because it's so much lovelier than "buzzard," which is the European descriptor.
From now on I'll call them buzzards. I really don't have any right to appropriate Native American concepts.
Well, this whole cultural appropriation thing got me to thinking. What am I entitled to in my white, European traditions? Where is my cultural touchstone?
DING DING DING DING!!!
Being a Two Street Stomper is my culturally appropriate activity.
Which is swell, because today I went to a parade! The weather was impeccable, the crowds were friendly and appreciative, and we gave them a good show. It was so nice to see my Stompers fam again after 18 long months.
The moral of this brief sermon is:
*Don't call it a "spirit animal" or a "Sacred Thunderbird." Call it a buzzard, but venerate it just as much.
*Being a Mummer is a culturally appropriate activity for me. OH yeah! Two Street Fired Up!
On day four of my first week of work, I was told that a kid sitting near my desk had tested positive for COVID. Five students were sent home to quarantine, but I got to stay because I am vaccinated.
I was prepared for this. My guess is the whole school will shut down before Christmas. But in the meantime, I have need for my working wand.
Those of you who have been following my meandering life will know that I have two magic wands: a ceremonial wand and a working wand. The working wand, though it is charged with magic, just looks like a stick. It's quite portable. Comes in handy.
There are so many reasons for taking a wand to work that I can hardly list them all in a single post. I've never faced anything like this autumn. Not even last autumn, when I sat in an empty classroom, fearing my colleagues and their lax habits.
All the students (who aren't in quarantine) have returned to class. They are required to wear masks. Which, being teenagers, they try to finesse. They must put their phones away while in class. Which, being teenagers, they try to finesse. They have to wear uniforms and ID cards. Which, being teenagers ... never mind. You get it.
I teach 9th grade. But this year I am teaching kids who missed 8th grade. I don't know if you can remember back to those awful middle school years, but you will no doubt recall that there's some maturity that happens in 8th grade. It didn't happen. The kids are immature and squirrely. Some of them, when told gently to put their phones away, shut down and put their heads on their desks.
But I saved the worst for last.
I always get at least one inclusion class. For those of you not up on your teacher lingo, an inclusion class contains students who need special, individual support for a variety of reasons. Inclusion classes are co-taught with a Special Ed teacher. I have worked with many such teachers, always in a spirit of collegiality.
This year I need my wand.
I am saddled with a loutish young man probably still in his twenties. Do I need to say more if I tell you he got full-blown COVID last winter from hanging out in a bar with his buddies? Well, sadly, there's more. The chump is chock-a-block with toxic masculinity. Let's put aside that he complains about other teachers he has worked with. He is poison to my students.
After he snarled at the class most of last week (earning their hatred right out of the gate, trust me), I told him I would handle the discipline. Not ten minutes later, he got in the face of a stripling girl of 14 and dressed her down for something I had just handled. The girl wound up shaking and crying.
Not on my damn watch. Wand up, shields up, time to detox this masculine pest.
I'm not a confrontational person. But little girls aren't going to cry in my classroom. I also bleed Union blue, and this guy is in my bargaining unit, but I'm prepared to go to his supervisor if he doesn't shape the hell up.
You know what I hate? I hate people who project doom. I can't feature someone who could say, "IF YOU HAVE YOUR PHONE OUT, YOU'LL HAVE NOTHING BUT TROUBLE HERE AT THIS SCHOOL, AND YOU DON'T WANT THAT KIND OF TROUBLE."
For the love of fruit flies! It's not like these kids are out drinking with their buddies in a pandemic!
So, as my beloved Yellowdog Grannny says, "Chin up, tits out." And wands out. And spines straight. I'm not only teaching the students, I'm teaching a teacher.
By the way, my room is full of the books you all donated to me. I got a whopping $200 from the school district last spring, but I'm well set, thanks to you. I haven't forgotten.
Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" I'm Anne Johnson, a school teacher in the Time of COVID-19. If you can do this job, under these circumstances, without resort to magic, you are a better person than me.
But La Di Dah! I got two shots, and I've got a copper bracelet, and I have hung vulture feathers at my front door! COVID can't touch me!
Well, okay, it can. I just hope that when it does, it flicks me lightly, rather than walloping me with a blunt instrument.
Never mind that. Last Monday was Labor Day! And you know what that means, right? Philadelphia's annual Communist, Socialist, Godless, Corrupt and Overpaid Union Get-Together!
Just kidding with all those adjectives. Big Business wants people to hate unions so that the businessmen can go on being rich on the backs of their workers. And that would be a nope. Public sentiment for unions is actually improving. Hooray!
So, without further sermon, here are some photos I snapped at the AFL-CIO Labor Day Parade in Philadelphia on September 6. Here is the float that got things started.
Here is a card-carrying Socialist in the crowd.
The red shirt is a coincidence, because the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (plus that one pesky blogger from New Jersey) also wear red.
Every year the union puts up a big banner at Penn's Landing.
And then all the various unions -- identified by their shirts, enjoy the use of Penn's Landing (with free burgers and fries) for four hours. I think these are Boilermakers.
And you will never guess who I ran into there. The Monkey Man! He rode to the parade on his bike, with Monkey in tow, and we enjoyed a nice chat by the Delaware River. It's always good to see him!
It was great to get out into the sun with my union brothers and sisters. Needless to say this didn't happen last year. But we're back!
And guess what else is back? The Mummers Parade! In some form. I put down a deposit on a dress.
Hello there! You may have Googled Malcolm Kenyatta's name and come to my page as a newcomer. If so, welcome aboard! I am a resident of New Jersey, progressive as get-out, and I believe in a future that is epitomized by Malcolm Kenyatta.
Now, my three regulars. I know you have never heard of him, so I'll give you some back story on Malcolm Kenyatta.
My daughter The Fair lives in Center City, Philadelphia. When the pandemic began and her hours were cut, she couldn't get unemployment because there was an unresolved issue with a social security number that she had gotten wrong once, on a long ago job. Fair was so upset, crying, certain she would never get things straightened out, and I told her to call her State Representative. I even looked up his name in the Pennsylvania legislature. His name: Malcolm Kenyatta.
Finally I persuaded Fair to call Malcolm Kenyatta's office, and his staff quickly fixed her issues with Pennsylvania and got her that unemployment pay.
It's kind of sad that no one knows their State Representatives can do such things. People are way too used to the idea that the government doesn't care about them at all, except at election time. But long story short, Representative Kenyatta has an efficient staff, and they are quite helpful.
Then one day I was driving to work, and the local news station played a clip about a State Representative who was giving Republicans some kinda sass in a committee meeting. The clip they played was hysterical. Bunch of old white men telling Malcolm he was out of order, and Malcolm not having it. I thought, "That's the guy who helped Fair! I think I have a new hero!"
It was about this time that MSNBC discovered Malcolm Kenyatta, and he started appearing on the various evening shows. That's where I was able to put a face to the name. The odd thing is that now, I can't even remember the issue that got him on national t.v. There are so many that could qualify.
If you want to see him standing up for voting rights, here he is.
Earlier this year, Malcolm Kenyatta announced that he is seeking the position of Senator in the state of Pennsylvania. It didn't take me two seconds to sign up to support his campaign, even though I'm across the river. I'm doing it for my daughters.
Malcolm Kenyatta is young, gay, progressive, and passionate. He reflects the America I would like to see, where people of all races and persuasions have a seat at the table where big decisions are made. I like the way this young man doesn't suffer fools. I flat-out love his platform.
So imagine my surprise and delight, when I went to this year's Philadelphia Labor Day Parade, that I turned around and nearly smacked into Malcolm Kenyatta! I did a little squeee, of course, and before I could say ICANTWAITUNTILYOUARESENATOR, we were hugging for a photograph.
Readers, I do truly want to see this fine man advance in the halls of government. If you live in Pennsylvania, vote for him. If you don't, invoke the help of your deities on his behalf. He is the America we need to see.
More about Labor Day soon!
I know you've heard all about it. Texas has a new law that forbids abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. Oh, shucks, let's dispense with the formalities. Texas has made abortion illegal, and the Supreme Court has wink wink nod nod approved of it in the middle of the night.
This is a tricky little dodge that the Texas state legislature has passed. It's not the long arm of the law that's gonna enforce the abortion ban, it's ordinary Texans. They can report anyone who is getting an abortion, or anyone who helps in any way. Maybe what we would call a "citizen's arrest." And there's a nice bounty of $10,000 for any tip that leads to prosecution.
The law is so draconian that you practically have to reach back to Stalin and Mao to find precedent. But pish tosh! It's fine with the Supreme Court!
It's fine with me too, mainly because this kind of shit reminds me what a blessing it is to live in New Jersey, the Garden State, may the Gods guard and keep it!
You know why else it's fine? I'm all for this whole citizen cop thing. After all, the Supreme Court has approved, right? So let's get some good out of this.
I am contacting my state legislature. I think they should pass a bill that makes gun ownership against the law, except for active duty military. Any citizen of New Jersey can report a gun owner, or anyone who drives the gun owner to buy a gun, or anyone who operates a firing range, or golly, anyone who sells ammunition and camouflage clothing! I'm really cool with that $10k reporting fee, too. I will be really vigilant about turning in all those criminal gun owners out there.
Tell me how this is differs from the Texas law? Guns kill. Let's get them out of the hands of potential killers. And get paid to do it. Supreme Court will have to help us, because, you know, quid pro quo.
I'll bet I could think of a dozen laws for citizen vigilantes to handle. Take leaf blowers, for instance. What we need is a good stiff law that prevents people from using leaf blowers except for Saturday afternoons in October and November. Pollution! Noise! Where are my citizen crime fighters?
In all seriousness, I truly hope this abortion ban is the tipping point that turns Texas blue. How can a majority of citizens approve of ending abortions? (Legal and safe ones, anyway ... there will never be an end to abortions.) Come on, Texas! Vote the bums out. Start with the guy who flew to Cancun when the whole state was frozen solid and people were dying of hypothermia.
Texas gals, if you can make your way to New Jersey to "visit the historic Stone Pony," you can stay at my house for free. Wink wink, nod nod.
The remnants of Hurricane Ida passed through New Jersey last night. A tornado spawned in South Jersey and stayed on the ground through fully half of the state -- about 90 miles. It came within five miles of my house.
We get hurricanes all the time, and they wreak havoc. But this was different. Some areas got 10 inches of rain. Houses were demolished, tornado-style. This was not a typical New Jersey hurricane.
Such weather events used to be quite rare, but this is the second year in a row that we have had a damaging hurricane during season. Both names began with "I."
When I was growing up, I don't think I ever saw a hurricane that began with "I."
I also didn't think I would see Roe v. Wade overturned and Jim Crow voting practices reinstated. America is moving backwards in everything but overall temperature.
Gods help us all.
Ah, summer is almost over, and a new school year beckons. Even though COVID-19 is almost worse than ever, we are back to full enrollment in our schools.
In the meantime, I know three fully vaccinated adults who caught COVID-19 and were sick for weeks. Granted, they survived. But sick for weeks. All younger than me.
Pandemic does not be over. How silly of me to think so! This is 'Murica, Land of the Idiot and Home of the Moron.
Why are people who have been vaccinated for a half dozen deadly and infectious diseases suddenly unwilling to get a shot? That was a rhetorical question. I know the answer. The answer (no matter what other answer they give) is that Joe Biden encourages everyone to get a shot. If Joe Biden promoted breathing, they would all turn blue and suffocate.
If it was just the anti-shot morons infecting each other, I wouldn't care a bit. Go ahead and die on the hill of your "freedom." But I don't want to go with you. I have done everything -- everything -- the public health experts have told me to do. Everything. A 45-minute visit on Christmas, on the front porch of my daughter's rental? Did it. Quarantine for weeks and weeks? Did it. Wearing a mask everywhere? Did it. Doing it. Will do it. Hand sanitizer? Use it. Avoiding crowded indoor events? Did it. Doing it. Will do it.
I fought to get a date for my vaccination. Now I will need to fight for a booster ... and in the meantime spend my days with a room full of teenagers. There are 100 students on my roster this year. Even if half of them are vaccinated, that'll be a lot of COVID-19 floating in the stagnant classroom air. And I will have to wear a mask all day long, every day. I'll be afraid to take it off any time I'm in the room, including when I'm alone. Shit can hang in the air.
Most of this suffering could have been avoided if we had a citizenry that is less evenly divided between reasonable and ridiculous.
Getting sick from COVID when you've done everything to prevent it is like dying of tobacco-induced lung cancer without ever having smoked a cigarette. I don't want to be that victim!
Yes, I have practiced magic to keep myself safe. But no matter. I'm predicting with confidence that I'll contract this damn plague sometime this fall. Oh, morons. Thank you so much.
You know that even in the Wild, Wild West there were people who planted apple trees and built schools, right? That's kind of how I feel about Facebook.
The platform is a dung heap of buzzard-gagging proportions, but how else would I be able to keep up with the Southampton Township Historical Society? (They have a page.)
You see, the Southampton Township Historical Society is the historical body responsible for the area that my ancestors called home from the earliest 1700s. The president of the Society posts all kinds of stuff about that area. One day I clicked in, and there was the obituary for my great-great grandmother, who died in 1947. All kinds of stuff like that. And there are a lot of people following that page ... 939 to be exact. I'm probably related to 938 of them.
It was on this page that I saw an offer, by owner, for a small property in Southampton Township. The property is a quarter mile from the churchyard where my great-grandparents and great-great grandparents are buried.
Earlier this week, I went up to see the property in question. It's small. But I am in love.
EXHIBIT A: NOT JUST GENERIC FOREST
This picture doesn't really capture it. The trees are tall. They're hardwood. No invasive species, no poison ivy, no place for rattlesnakes to hide.
I love it. I want to buy it. I want to be a citizen of Southampton Township again.
Working on it. Wish me well!