Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Of Ren Faires and Chicken Balls

The Alabama Ren Faire is twenty-five years old this year, making it one of the South's longest-running faire's. We've gone for eight of the past ten years, barring one year's illness and last year's unpleasantness. But this year's faire was not the faire of old.

Any street party takes a lot of grunt work. I've seen town celebrations fall apart at the last minute because nobody wanted to get their hands dirty cleaning and prepping the streets, so having people to do the grunt work is important. When the Alabama Ren Faire first started, the grunt work was provided by the Society for Creative Anachronism, who in return got a tasteful display booth in the middle of the Faire. While they did the labor, the Faire increased in patrons and booths every year. The city park where the Faire is held was a kaleidescope of people in all kinds of costumes: medieval, celtic, fairy, bellydancer, goth, vampire, dragon, steampunk, regular punk. Everyone's freak flag flew proudly, and entering the Faire always gave me a profound feeling of relief and homecoming.

Something happened to make the SCA leave. About four or five years ago the Faire found a new partner to provide a source of labor: a Conservative Evangelical Christian Church located across from the park. They brought their own ideas about things with them. Not all those ideas were bad -- the children's treasure hunt through the hay bale for little trinkets was a smash hit with its age group. But the children's puppet show they put on the first year where cute little puppets told the kids they were going straight to hell if they didn't do exactly what the church told their parents to tell them to do was a bust. And they weren't satisfied with a tasteful booth in a middle of the fair. They got a soapbox on the food vendor's aisle where they could harangue people in shifts on the evils of sin while the patrons tried to eat their lunch. The first year they dressed up in monk's robes and I held out hope that we'd get sermonized on period-appropriate sins, but it turned out to be vilifying TV and gay marriage. This year they didn't bother to dress out.

Neither did many other people. Patronage and vendors were both down by two-thirds over their peak, hardly anyone showed up in medieval costume, and no one showed up in any other kind of costume. The people who came spent less time, and subsequently less money, while they were there. Previously we'd shown up in the morning, walked around a bit, ate lunch, and walked around some more. This time we left at lunchtime.

We asked the locals for a good place to eat and ended up at Evergreens' Chinese Buffet, which had a full parking lot at 1:30 in the afternoon, always a good sign. The paying customers included local Chinese, another good sign. The buffet was a bit small, but the food was delicious. One item I found that we'd never seen before was labelled "California Chicken". It turned out to be a fried meatball of ground chicken, flour and spices. I joked to my husband that the Californians had reinvented the hush puppy. Has anyone ever heard of anything like that before? I couldn't find a recipe online.

Monday, October 24, 2011

If I had a tail it would be twitching.

Something's making me uncomfortable in my skin. Jostling me, trying to stir up old discontents. I've been fighting down the urge to rant on various and sundry topics for weeks now. (Admittedly, I also don't have the time.) But the feeling is starting to grow past the "rant" stage and into the "startle at strange noises" stage.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Shh. Be Very, Very Quiet. We're Trying To Take Over the Government.

In my last post I talked about how prominent backers of Rick Perry and other hard-line Republicans include Dominionist Christians who want to occupy government and be the dominant influence in America:

So many people are now paying attention to this nonsense that the Dominionists are getting worried about their image. They're telling their people to stop using the term "Dominionist" in public. After all, they can't create a 'virtual theocracy' without using stealth.

Of course not everyone has got the message. Mike Bickle is still saying Jews who don't convert to Christianity will be sent to death camps:

But, you say, surely these raving lunatics pose no threat to our great land. Well, they already control the Air Force Academy to such extent that cadets hide their true beliefs in fear of punishment from the Academy if they are discovered to not be hardline Fundamentalist Christians.

Think about that one for a bit.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

PS: The Statue of Liberty is Demonic, Too

Last night Mississippi Public Radio aired Terry Gross' interview with New Apostolic Reformation leader C. Peter Wegner on Fresh Air.

My daughters, who I haven't let visit local Christian churches, had never heard Dominionist rhetoric before and were incredulous, outraged, and disgusted at what Wegner said, including but not limited to:

1) the Japanese Emperor had sex with the demonic Japanese Sun Goddess in order to cause hurricanes to fall on Japan and crash the Nippon,

2) that many politicians, especially Democrats, are controlled by demons,

3) that both non-Christians and non-Apostolic Christians are "part of the kingdom of darkness",

4) that democracy is bad for Christian churches, which should instead be controlled by authorized Apostles,

5) "...our goal is to try to have as many kingdom-minded believers in positions of influence in the arts and entertainment mountain as possible." Not to mention in business, government, the media, education, religion, and the family;

6) to have as many Apostles in all branches of government as possible,

7) casting demons out of both individuals (which sounds suspiciously like "rebellious" children of Apostolic parents) and cities (apparently the demons give a copy of their Hierarchy and Employee List to the Apostolics so they know who's in charge where),

8) why Sarah Palin needed special protection against Witches

... there would be some people who practiced witchcraft and other forms of the occult who would try to take Sarah Palin down through certain rituals or curses or other techniques that witches have, and try to destroy her through those things. (Gee, isn't laughter the most effective ritual against Palin?),

9) how they respect all religions, but don't think anyone should belong to any religion except their religion because all other religions are controlled by demons. And this is respectful of other religions. Honest.

But the thing that has Brighteyes (12) up in arms was when Wegner defended fellow Apostolic John Benefiel's claim that the Statue of Liberty is a demonic idol.

GROSS: Okay. You know, you mentioned that you're close to John Benefiel, one of the organizers of this rally. Something he said that was very controversial, he called the Statue of Liberty a demonic idol. Do you agree with that?

WAGNER: I - let me say that I don't have enough information to disagree with it. I know it was given to the nation by - as a gift from the Freemasons of France. And there might be some demonic power that he and his friends discern in that statue, but I don't want to - I really don't want to make a strong commitment one way or another to that one.

Brighteyes read all 442 comments on the Fresh Air website. She found people upset over nearly everything else Wegner said, but not this fact. As it was left out of the abbreviated transcript she thought some people might not have listened to the full audio or read the full transcript and missed it. She wanted me to be sure and tell everyone what "that idiot" said about one of our greatest national symbols.

The chilling part of all this is that due to the delay in airing the Fresh Air broadcast, we heard Wegner's interview yesterday as this story was breaking: 14 Peruvians shamans were butchered by members of a Protestant sect that believed the shamans were controlled by demons.

Does anyone believe they won't be doing the same thing in this country if they ever achieve their goals?

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Break Out the Washboard

Last week the washing machine died. In a family of five this is no small matter.

I've had a checkered history with washers. Shortly after we got married my great aunt entered a nursing home and gave us her 20-year old Speed Queen set, which ran for another 10 years without a problem before dying at the honorable old age of 30. In the next 10 years we've had four name brand washers, none of which lasted longer than three years. It got to the point where I was so used to hand-washing clothes in between machines that when I found a galvanized washboard for sale this spring I bought it without a second thought.

After comparing reviews online I found that Speed Queen was once again making home models. While they were more expensive than average, they were not more expensive than, say, two other-brand machines, which is what I was going through every five years. And they came with a 10-year warranty.

Talk about a no-brainer.

It took a while to find one locally. Apparently they only sell Speed Queens in really small towns where everyone knows where you live and will trash your car if you sell them a crappy appliance. But after crossing four counties, we finally found a dealer who was having a sale. Of course all the floor models were sold by the time we arrived, but they ordered one for us. It arrived today, and it works like a charm.

Yeah, I'm happy with my new toy. But I can't help remembering my mother. Mom never made a decent purchase in her life if there was a cheap one she could buy instead, but in the 60s and 70s washers were so well made that even the cheap ones lasted her over a decade each. And she never needed to buy a washboard.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Homeschoolers as Political Volunteers

I'm just going to leave this here:

Homeschoolers emerge as Republican foot soldiers

That's something else I still need to do after out move. I need to look up the local Green Party candidate and find out if they need some underage volunteers.....