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The Fun Things That Show Up In The Local Paper

We've not been receiving our free local newspaper recently, which is sort of a pity. However, it appears they've found a new distributor for our area, and a copy showed up on our front verge this afternoon. And what a pleasant surprise it was...

Front page headline: 'Drag Strip' anger

My partner made a comment about this being rather misleading - "well, y'know, I was enjoying the show right up to the point where it became obvious that she was... well, she wasn't a she, if y'see what I mean."

My mind, being the FF7-fixated thing it is, immediately started scripting the article:

Article under the fold )

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Current Mood: silly silly
So, Was It Rapturous For You, Too?

It's May 22. I'm still here. So are my neighbours. So is New Zealand.

But then, I had a problem with Mr Camping's figures from the start - they were based around the whole business of "years from Christ's birth", and the assumption this occurred at some fictitious Year Zero. Now, there's a few small problems with this: firstly, and most importantly, there wasn't a Year Zero at all - in fact, at the time Christ was supposed to have been born, there were two calendars his birth might have been reported on, and one of those was the Hebrew calendar which (at that time[1]) counted years since Seleucus I Nicator returned to Babylon after his Egyptian exile (because Galilee, Judah and surrounding territories fell firmly into the Seleucid empire). The other was the Roman imperial calendar, which counted years since the city of Rome had been founded by Remus in memory of his brother.

The second big problem is that the timing of the birth of Christ wasn't noted in any contemporaneous historical documents (there are three gospel references, all of which post-date the death of Christ by at least 100 years[2]) and therefore it can't be fixed. The best most biblical and historical scholars can do is guess - to a greater or lesser degree of accuracy, depending on the premises they use.

The Anno Domini (or "Year of Our Lord") dating system wasn't actually devised as a way of counting years until approximately 525CE. It was originally created as a way of dating Easter each year, as a replacement for the Diocletian epoch (Diocletian being the the last Roman emperor to go in for serious persecution of Christians, and mass production of Christian martyrs). The only thing which has come down to the present day is the actual conversion table from Diocletian years to AD, and there's no notes available to provide any cross references to other dating systems, or any indication of the calculations used.

Historical research has since been conducted to try and figure out when the actual birth of Christ occurred[3], and the results of this are rather interesting. In effect, the dates for various biblical cross-references can put the date of Christ's birth anywhere in the period between 18BC and 7AD (depending on which of the gospels you believe to be accurate). The most widely accepted figures tend to be between 9 and 6 BCE.

Now, given this, even if we accept every other part of Mr Camping's mathematics to be exact, divinely inspired and absolutely correct, the best guess is that the end of the world would have begun sometime between 2002 and 2005. If this were the case, then clearly we were just all too busy to notice - or there were a lot of people who were expecting to be Raptured who were clearly not as good at this whole Christianity thing as they thought they were.

But hey, dating Christ's birth is an imprecise science. If we take the latest figure possible for Christ's birth (putting his birth at the time of the census of Syria and Iudaea in 6 - 7CE[4]) then we should be looking out for the end of the world in 2017 or 2018. If it hasn't already ended in 2012, as per the Mayan calendar.

[1] The current Hebrew calendar counts the years since the founding of the world as per biblical record, but it's only been doing so since about the 3rd century CE.
[2] Thus they post-date his birth by at least 133 years.
[3] I haven't yet heard of any research into whether it occurred at all - but then, I'm not a theological or archaeological scholar.
[4] Although this is slightly inconsistent with the same gospel writer's record of Christ's conception occurring during the reign of Herod the Great, which ended in 4BCE. Of course, if this is at all accurate, I can understand why the (previously) Virgin Mary is regarded as a saint - an eleven year pregnancy would be trying for anyone, let alone a first-time mother!

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Current Mood: quirky quirky
Current Music: The complete lack of angelic choirs
Bad photo ahoy!

I think John Nicolaou should be asking the ABC to remove the photo on this article, if only because it does nothing to improve his public image. They've clearly caught the poor man mid-blink, mid-word, and honestly, it makes him look like a member of the Drones Club - if I was wanting an image to point to as an example of who to cast for a similar role, I'd be pointing to this one and saying "like that, only slightly more vacuous".

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Current Mood: awake awake
Tony Abbott, Ventriloquist supreme

For those who are unaware, Tony Abbott is the latest leader the Federal Opposition in Australia. He's been the leader of the Liberal Party for about a month or two now, and he appears to be trying for the title of World's Greatest Ventriloquist. I'd certainly give him the gong - he seems to be able to speak very clearly despite having both feet in his mouth up to about the knee at this point.

So far he's been demonstrating a wonderful "back to the fifties" ethos as the leader of the Liberals. Problem is he appears to want to go back to the 1850s as far as moral thinking is concerned, and maybe the 1650s for economic thinking.

His latest effort is a screed on the appropriateness of the death penalty.

I was particularly struck by this quote:

Mr Abbott says execution may be a fitting punishment for those responsible for mass death.

"Well, you know, what would you do with someone who cold-bloodedly brought about the deaths of hundreds or thousands of innocent people?" he said.

Well, gee. Usually I start with the phrase "vote the bastard out", and work my way along from there. Come to think on it, isn't that what the people of the United States did to their former President who fitted those criteria? It's certainly what the voters of the federal seat of Bennelong did to John Howard in the last election. But hey, Tones, if you wanna risk a death penalty for the job of being PM, feel free. Let's start it in your potential first term as PM, hmmm?

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location: Beyond belief
Current Mood: wry wry
Divine Intervention, and what it could mean for America...

Sparked by this article:

Jack Hayford Backs Odd Theory: Sex With a Demon Drove Down Japanese Stock Market

If the Emperor of Japan has had sexual intercourse with the Japanese sun goddess, there's an even bigger worry to consider: he's been involved in an incestuous act with one of his ancestors (the royal house of Japan is said to be descended directly from the sun goddess Amaterasu) and may well have been sexually assaulted by this divine-level being. The matter needs to be investigated, and appropriate criminal charges laid (not just the goddess in question).

There are numerous cases of divinities sexually assaulting their followers and/or descendants; one of the more famous ones occurred circa BC 6 in the vicinity of Nazareth, when Mary (betrothed of Yusuf the carpenter) was assaulted by Yhwh (the local barbarian deity) and was later made aware of this assault by angelic visitation. She subsequently bore a child of this assault who followed the typical life path for such children - forced relocation from their homeland, a nomadic or disconnected childhood, and lack of acknowledgement by their maternal or paternal relatives, and a certain amount of searching for a stable identity, followed by a period of recognising their divine origins, reclaiming whichever kingdom they happen to be heir to, and eventual assassination. Subsequently, cultists affirmed this child had risen from the dead (which is a standard demi-deistic ability).

It appears this particular case was an exceptional one, leading to action being taken at the divine level, since subsequent claims of divine sexual assault appear to be the maunderings of hysterical females. However, it appears this practice was once widespread (as per the stories of Heracles, Perseus, Helen, Clytemnestra, Castor, Pollux, Theseus, the royal houses of both Northern and Southern Egypt, the royal house of Assyria, Romulus, Remus, the royal house of Japan etc) and this raises concern. Given this tale of resurgent divine interference in the affairs (both sexual and metaphorical) of humans, it could be we are due for another round of demi-deities being born into a world which is no longer set up to accommodate their demi-divine abilities.

Should there be a rash of people resurrecting themselves, the consequences for the funerary industries alone are startling. However one of the regular demi-divine abilities, which is freely attributed to any number of demi-divine beings (for example, Asclepius) is the ability to heal through the use of demi-divine power. This leads to some serious implications for the health care provision industries, and a clear and present threat to the American way of life should a demi-god or demi-goddess walk amongst the American population. If such a being is able to heal simply by laying on hands, should they be permitted to do so when their ability threatens the livelihoods of doctors, nursing professionals, medical researchers, medical administrators and insurance company executives? As they generally refuse payment for such services (this is a documented phenomenon in most cases of healing by divine beings) their existence could very well drive down the profit margins in the medical sector, leading to increased co-payments being required by insurance companies. Indeed, the existence of a single demi-deity could be a greater threat to the American Medical System as it stands now than any public health provision being argued through Congress.

In addition, demigods in particular tend to have extremely powerful warlike abilities. One of the more regular ones is enhanced strength, another is enhanced skill in battle (and therefore presumably in sporting activities). The more active demigoddesses also demonstrate these traits. As yet, there are no standardised means of testing humans for demigodly abilities (although there are rumours they have a persistent halo or aura, visible in darkness) which opens the door to the possibility of pantheistic countries such as China deliberately breeding their deities with humans in order to improve their standing in international sport. Has Caster Semenya (a demigodly name if ever I heard one) had her parentage checked for possible divine antecedents?

Clearly we must be on the alert for further symptoms of divine and demi-divine interference in our way of life.

I shouldn't have to say this, but just in case some of my readers aren't aware, the above is sarcasm and satire. Reading the sparking article - particularly the bits about "prayer walking" - had me wondering whether all of the implications of the divine sexual encounter on the part of the Japanese emperor had been appropriately considered. As well as whether or not the people who are Prayer Walking are also claiming credit for the reduction in attacks by man-eating badgers on the populations of the places they're "protecting"...

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location: In shock.
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