World Domination Update
“Bitter Almond Surprise”
vol. VII, iss. iii
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness”
of the Moment: “I don’t
like mustard. The only thing worse than regular mustard is that Gray
Poupon dijon crap. Leave it to the French to find a way to take something
that already sucks and make it worse” — shade
In this issue: Okay, I’ve
put this off long enough... I would have addressed this last go-round, but
the pressing urgency of the 10
Secret Word of the Day: “Plebeian Scum!”
Site of the Week: Shatnerology — the Church of William Shatner
Barbecue Sauce of the Month: Sonoran Sam’s Road Runner Blend
· Iraq Madness
· SARS Wars
· God’s Banker (a prelude)
· Twisted TULIP
· Ask Evil Matt
· Hedgehog Chips
In this issue:
Okay, I’ve put this off long enough... I would have addressed this last go-round, but the pressing urgency of the 10th Anniversary of the Waco conflagration took priority. So now,,,
Caught between Iraq and a Hard Place
Boy, Bush wasn’t kidding when he started off calling this “a new kind of war.” His tactics of “shock and awe” certainly had the right effects, though on the wrong people: the only ones experiencing shock and awe were us perplexed onlookers sitting on the sidelines watching this live via CNN. I guess you gotta give kudos where due: popular opinion of the plebeian scum be damned, UN be screwed, Bush made up his mind to do this hideous exercise of unabashed aggression and wasn’t going to let something like the illegality and absurdity of it trip him up.
Now first of all, don’t get me wrong: Hussein was phuqing nuts and needed to go. I don’t think he had the weapons of mass destruction that Dubya claimed he did — the lack of any evidence turning up all but confirms this — but of course all but the most naïve out there (hello, Luscious Locks!) will tell you he was trying his dandiest to get ahold of them and would have had a half-decent stockpile of mass nastiness within a few years. Better to nip this in the bud before we had to go in facing an actual threat.
In other words, Bush did the right thing for the wrong reasons. Anyone who thinks this was just about liberating the downtrodden plebeian scum of Iraq, please disconnect from the Internet immediately; it’s probably past your bedtime, so go get mommy and daddy to give you a cookie and glass of warm milk, and stop hogging my website’s band-width!
I thought it was telling that one of the first things we did after capturing the oil fields in the southeast was to start their production up and pumping. Baghdad wasn’t even “liberated” yet, and the oil was flowing. Hmmmm. Plus, there was an interesting BBC article on how the U.S. was already awarding business contracts to oversee all that. The company that got this sweet deal? Kellogg, Brown & Root. Do a bit of homework, folks, and you’ll find that Dick Cheney was on the KBR board of directors, resigning only to run on the V.P. slot just before the 2000 elections.
If Fred Rogers were still alive, he’d doubtless ask, “that’s a conflict of interest... can you say that?”
Although there are many disturbing inquiries that need to be made about this, let’s start with the aftermath and ask the most obvious: where the hell is Hussein?
Rumors were flying almost immediately on the conspiracy circuit about a secret deal struck between GWB and SH, where the Iraqi maniac would agree to quietly lie low (essentially abdicating) in exchange for his life. Not quite sure I buy that, but until they show me Hussein’s cold, rotting corpse (or some bloody bomb-torn fragment of it) anything is possible. Supposedly we knew where Saddam was (to within a city block) the morning Baghdad fell, and carpet bombed it with bunker busters. Forensic teams have been combing the rubble ever since. If this were a crime scene back stateside, they’d have found a fingernail fragment by now, proclaimed it came from a dead man, and the case would be closed. Not so here, and the silence speaks volumes.
But let’s turn to the future for a second. Now what? That dark cloud on the horizon is a swarm of flies homing in on this massive pile of bullshit. The probability that Iraq will get something stable and democracy-like are of lottery winning or lightning strike levels. There is already a groundswell to go secular, so there’s a good chance that we’ll be looking at something like another Afghanistan Taliban or Iranian theocracy. Technically, you could say if that’s what the people want, so be it. But it’s more a case what certain influential indigenous people in the region (especially one country over to the east) are aiming for, and they are pumping propaganda and finances in to achieve an Islamic regime cloning themselves. We’ll just have to wait and see. However, the ostensible Bush nihilism of “anything is better than Hussein” will probably bite him in his ass if that happens. My guess is that we won’t be bringing the boys back home any time soon, just in case Dubya is displeased with the new form of government and decides it isn’t grateful and ingratiating enough towards us.
A quick, if related, digression onto that subject which underscores the whole hypocrisy of Bush’s Mid-East agenda. One of the biggest banners Bush waved in justification for this little excursion was to oust a non-democratic dictator who was exporting terrorism. Well, if that’s his Persian Gulf policy, why haven’t we invaded Saudi Arabia? That nation is a kingdom, not a democracy, and one of the most corrupt in the world. Worse, the House of Saud provably sold its soul to Islamic fundamentalists decades ago; the terms of that contract were “we’ll ignore you and even fund you if you focus your aggression anywhere but on the home front.” It is no accident that 15 of the 19 9/11 terrorist were Saudi nationals. If democratic elections were to be held today in Saudi Arabia, the winner would overwhelmingly be Osama bin laden, or at least another fundamentalist of his ilk. The plebeian scum of that nation hate their royal family and the American overlords who tolerate them simply because the House of Saud was wise enough to play ball with us this long. You will recall in mid March, Al Qaida finally began bombing barracks on their own soil, so we can see that as the signal that the fuse on the Saudi powder keg has already been lit.
Let’s be blunt: the only reason the United States gives a rat’s ass about the Middle East is oil. The exception to this are the Christian fundamentalists who support Israel because of their own Book of Revelation agenda, and don’t want to see Islam muck up the Bible’s prophecies as the Radical Right in this country interpret them. And the convenience of the Suez Canal is kind of nice for commerce. But beside that, it’s all about petroleum. Those oil reserves are finite, and will run out within most reader’s lifetimes. After that, the U.S. won’t care about the region, and will doubtless turn its attention elsewhere. Before the big oil glut of the ’60s and ’70s, that was one of the most impoverished regions on Earth — it’s not like they have any other natural resources the world is interested in. However, a few smart sheikhs realized we were dumb enough to pay $40 a barrel for dead dinosaur juice, and were also shrewd and clued in enough to invest the money rather than blow it on booze and harem hookers. Granted, they invested the money on themselves instead of in their own country, and didn’t share the wealth with the rest of the plebeian scum populace, but a few important people became wealthy enough to ensure they would be power players for quite some time. Meanwhile, the rest of the Arab world doesn’t see a dime of the revenue, and most likely wish those petroleum reserves would dry up so the Ugly Americans would go home and they could return to killing themselves in peace. Things will get interesting in 40 years when the oil dries up, but until then America has a vested interest in dealing with the region. Our addiction to oil ensures it.
Now we’re taking bets on who’s next: North Korea or Iran. Normally I’d shy away from making prophecy, but I smell a nasty pattern here, so I’ll give it a go on the hopes that I jinx myself and it doesn’t come true: just before the 2004 election we’ll have either another 9/11 assault or get into another “liberating war” so Bush can rally behind that in an effort to retain the White House. He certainly can’t stand on his economic policies or accomplishments, so it’ll be something like that as an excuse to get the plebeian scum to vote him back in.
Just remember: you heard it here first.
...but in other news...
Although no one seems to be able to say for certain where SARS comes from, theories are flying around like moths at a light. A group of Chinese scientists recently did what I will politely call “scat sampling” in a provincial market among various livestock for sale, and found SARS antibodies in a wide variety of unrelated critters — everything from raccoons to ponies. Opinion is split on whether this means SARS originated among animals and jumped over to humans, or whether the animals merely had been exposed and were fighting it off. Professor Yuen Kwok-yung, head of the University of Hong Kong Department of Microbiology, is of the opinion that SARS specifically started among a breed of cats (in this case the civet) and was passed on to humans by hungry Chinese who had a civet for dinner. Yum yum.
Taking up a radically dissenting view on this, professor Chandra Wickramasinghe of Cardiff University believes SARS came from the stars: a comet or meteorite had a strain of it, which somehow miraculously survived the outer space environs, entry into Earth’s atmosphere, and the inevitable impact (presumably in China) and has been running rampant ever since. Professor Wickramasinghe estimates that “...a tonne of bacterial material falls to Earth from space each day...” and suspect that things like the bizarre 1917 mutant influenza epidemic in Athens had a similar extraterrestrial origin. Personally, it sounds like professor Wickramasinghe has seen The Andromeda Strain a few times too many, and I would have expected better from a Welsh scientist.
Whatever the case, here’s what surprises me: the lack of conspiracy theory circulation suggesting that SARS was a Chinese biological warfare experiment that either got out of hand or escaped from the lab. To be honest, that was my first thought upon hearing about this, but if anyone else has taken up that banner, I have been unable to find out about it.
Fortunately, none of the Christian conspiracists have taken up the matter either, suggesting that SARS is of one of the seven plagues foretold in Revelation 15.
...and speaking of warped eschatology...
End Signs (part 940)
I’ve actually been expecting this for a while now, but the empirical realization of this is still disheartening.
Hidden Valley, the original makers of the toxic vomit known as Ranch Dressing, have just added a new flavor to their repertoire, and you can probably already guess what it is...
That’s just wrong, man...
I am reminded of DK and his Ranch-swilling minions once parading this very bastardized hybrid as “the mix” (in parody of the true Branch Floridian Mix), which I think only goes to show just how far in cahoots the Ranch Peninsular plebeian scum are in with the Hidden Valley corporation.
I guess there are two ways to look at this:
could optimistically see this as Hidden Valley acknowledging defeat and
trying to come to terms with the superiority of barbecue sauce
Let’s be realistic, though: this is a plot to slowly win over barbecue lovers to the hideous swill of ranch dressing.
Don’t be that guy!
Business 2.0, an on-line business e-zine, recently released its 101 Dumbest Moments in Business. Clocking in at number 100 was this curious entry:
In an attempt to boost its profile, the Protestant church in Germany hires ad agency Melle Pufe to come up with a slogan to attract new parishioners. After nearly $1.5 million in billings and head-scratching of biblical proportions — during which the firm's creative director calls Protestantism "a problematic brand" because it lacks a central figure, such as a pope — the new slogan is announced: "Protestants ask questions."
Personally, I would have gone with “We won’t kill you if you disagree with us.”
Number 4 on the list was particularly interesting, too, especially in context of our recent exposé on the Raelian “religion” and their Clonaid counterparts:
In an attempt to show that, no, really, they're serious about this cloning thing, Clonaid sells the RMX 2010, a $9,220 contraption that ... well, nobody's quite sure what it does. To help clarify the matter, Clonaid lends one to a British science museum — under strict orders not to open it to find out what's inside.
...and now, a plug for an upcoming article...
I had been hoping to include an article exposé on the Vatican banking scandal of the late 1970s in this issue, especially since learning that the principal player, Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, lives a 9 iron away from our Cactus Patch Compound in near-by Sun City, Arizona.
In the ’70s, Marcinkus was head of the IOR (Institute for Religious Works), which is a fancy misinformation-filled title for the Vatican Bank. Evidence is overwhelming that Marcinkus helped launder several billion dollars worth of mafia-printed counterfeit stock, several billion more of randomly embezzled money, and (according to officials currently subpoenaing him) about fifty million in gold plundered from Croatia during World War II by Nazis that mysteriously ended up in Catholic hands. The matter was almost resolved in 1978 when Pope John Paul I announced his plans to clean up the IOR, starting with the removal of Marcinkus. Unfortunately, the very night he announced that, the Pope died — officially of a heart attack, though no autopsy was performed, and John Paul’s doctor had given him a clean bill of health 33 days earlier.
Most, myself included, see the concealment of tens of billions of plundered money as a good motive for murder, and Marcinkus — who contrary to his usual habit was seen that fateful morning skulking around Vatican City — is high on the very short list of prime suspects.
Unfortunately, the more I looked into this, the murkier things got. Like Danny Casolaro, who stumbled upon a huge Octopus while investigating a “simple” case of software theft, The Marcinkus Matter ballooned into something huge, with the IOR scandal being just one tentacle of a larger beast. Large enough, in fact, that it would take an entire issue to cover each tangent.
For those curious, here are a few of those tangents. I’ll only list seven, because any more would turn this into another Octopus...
Shark” Sindona — the wunderkind financial genius of the
Sicilian mafia, Sindona was brought into the IOR as a “financial advisor” at the behest of Pope Paul VI to help manage Vatican investments. Sindona also helped increase IOR finances, with
Marcinkus’ direct assistance, by laundering several billion dollars of money
he’d plundered from various banks he directly or indirectly
controlled. One of the most interesting of those banks was...
Cisalpine Bank — a Bahamas
bank that was listed by DEA investigators in the ’80s as being a conduit for
laundering drug money. Marcinkus sat on the board of directors, as did
Roberto Calvi (see below.) In 1982, the Dade County District Attourney
attempted to prove that several other Cisalpine officers were former CIA
assets, but oddly “higher ups” in the Justice Department made
him call off his investigation into this.
Roberto Calvi —
Another curious alleged Mafioso with close ties to Sindona, Marcinkus
and the IOR. Most investigators peg him as the “middle man”
in this. Calvi also had ties with a murky, mysterious offshoot of the
Grand Lodge Alpina (Switzerland’s largest and most influential Masonic
lodge) called Propaganda Due, or “P2” for short (see below.)
Curiously, Calvi disappeared out of Italy on June 15, 1982, and turned up in
London two days later, hanging from a bridge, up to his waist in water and
with bricks in his pockets. Insiders immediately recognize that this
death motif reeks with Masonic symbolism.
Licio Gelli — the
founder of Propaganda Due, which itself all but merits an entry here, and a major player behind the scenes in Italian
politics. Membership in P2 included top Mafiosi, Italian parliament
and cabinet members, and a hefty chunk of important Vatican officials
(including, by almost all accounts, Marcinkus) — the last especially intriguing as Catholic Canon
law expressly forbids Masonic membership under pain of
excommunication. One of the more disturbing endeavors of P2 was the
Operation Gladio —
the brainchild of CIA spook James Jesus Angleton, Gladio was an ongoing
project between the CIA and P2 to keep the Italian Communist Party (Europe’s
largest) at bay during the Cold War. Techniques included the 1982
bombing of a Bologna rail station, in which over 200 people died.
Designed to look like a Marxist anarchy plot, the attack was actually
carried out by P2 members under the Gladio umbrella and designed to
discredit the Communists. An even more disturbing Gladio/P2
cooperative was the 1978 kidnapping and murder of Italian Prime Minister
Aldo Moro, which was also designed to frame the Italian Red Brigade.
The Knights of Malta
— a Vatican secret society dating back to the Crusades, the Knights of
Malta have been dabbling in politics ever since in ways that would make
Machiavelli proud. Gelli and Calvi were
members, there is contextual proof (though not hard evidence) Sindona and
Marcinkus were, too. The concept of a P2/KoM connection is especially
intriguing, as traditionally Masons and the Knights of Malta don’t like each
other. Undergo the initiation into 31st
Degree Masonry, and you’ll understand why...
George Herbert Walker Bush
— hey, you knew he had to be in here somewhere... Bush Sr. was
head of the CIA in the ’70s, and when some of the shadier aspects of all
this started emerging, Bush himself thwarted some embarrassing
investigations into it.
Like I said, this is a messy, interconnected mashuguna, and any one of the above aspects is ideal article fodder. Unfortunately, touching on one subject invariably necessitates bringing in the others for context and support. It’s actually no exaggeration to say that entire books have been written on all this, so dealing with the whole morass and doing the subject justice is beyond the limited length I try to assign each Update article.
Each of these is interesting, though, so possibly I’ll tackle them one step at a time in the future. Like I said, it had been my original intent to discuss the Vatican Banking Fiasco, so possibly next go-round I’ll start there.
Hell, Archbishop Marcinkus lives a stone’s throw away; maybe saint and I’ll pay him a visit... I don’t doubt that we won’t be the first in line at his door, though.
...and that being said...
The most dangerous form of Christianity
Certain readers (hello, Len!) have grumbled about what they perceive to be an inordinate amount of “Catholic Bashing” among random rants in both the WDU and personalized e-pistles. This has understandably led to the opinion that I am staunchly anti-Papist.
Me, I disagree: I’m anti-everything.
After all, I get the same complaints from RawBurn, a devout Mormon, who bristles every time I mention anything anti-Later Day Saint.
But back to Catholicism real quick. The concept that I have an anti-Catholic agenda is, in my humble opinion, false, though it is understandable that a casual reader like Len (a practicing Catholic, if y’all haven’t guessed by now) would think such. After all, the Updates deal with politics and religion, and the Catholic Church has been demonstrably enmeshed in both for close to 2,000 years. I don’t seek out the Catholic Church as a target: it presents itself as one. After all, Catholicism is the most visible representation of Christianity on Earth, with roughly one billion Catholics in its membership — 1/6 of the planet’s population. As a student of history, I have seen how they have attempted to run Europe and parts of the rest of the world, and even a casual acquaintance with the facts shows the majority of the time they have done a piss-poor job of representing Jesus on Earth. Equally important, I am familiar with their interpretations of Jesus’ teachings, and I feel I have bona fide reasons to disagree with them.
Then again, I also acknowledge that I don’t know everything, and I could be wrong. Admittedly, there are some parts of their doctrines and interpretations that I agree with. There are certainly groups I am more ideologically at odds with.
That said, and to come full circle to the title of this piece, I do not think that Catholicism is “the most dangerous form of Christianity.” I have a much better nominee for that most ignoble role:
Most readers are probably scratching their heads, attempting to remember the lip service given to this schism in any good high school history class. Like his protestant predecessor Martin Luther, John Calvin (1509–1564) most likely was not trying to found a new religion but reform an old one. “Calvinism” has become a catch-all label applied to umbrella its numerous off-shoots, probably the most visible of which are the Presbyterians and the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Pilgrims who settled Plymouth, Massachusetts were practicing Calvinists; they split from Anglican England so they could come over here to worship as they saw fit (and make everyone else unfortunate enough to cross their paths do the same.)
In my opinion, the seed of “Calvinism” predates the man it is named for by at least a millennium, and can be traced back to the 4th Century with Augustine (and I refuse to call him by the more familiar Saint Augustine.) We have Augustine to thank for one of the lynchpins of Calvinistic thought, the concept of “Original Sin.” This was the brainchild borne in Augustine’s book Confessions. This wretched piece of meandering crap has become one of the most influential pieces of Christian propaganda to influence subsequent doctrine, and actually reminds me of Mein Kamph: few adherents to its philosophy have actually read it, because otherwise they would have realized how absurd it was and rejected it. It is telling that Original Sin is a thoroughly Christian invention: the Garden of Eden story is demonstrably Jewish, but no generation of Jewish rabbis or theologians ever even considered the OS angle before Augustine, and immediately rejected it after he created it.
The concept of Original Sin is crucial to Calvinism, but where John Calvin upped the ante over Augustine was including a second stipulation: only a finite number of people will be saved. And if that isn’t bad enough, God has already made up His mind who these people are, and nothing you can do will change that.
Calvinism is a very fatalistic doctrine that ultimately denies man has free will. Everything is preordained by God; you may think you have a choice in something, but God actually determined what you would do. There are five main points to Calvinism, but all center around (or are variations of) this predestination theme. John Calvin reached this conclusion from reading the Bible. In the Bible, there are numerous prophets and prophecies about events in both the past and future. If God revealed information to a prophet via the Bible, then He must have known beforehand what would happen. Human will was powerless to change these prophetic events, and frequently the argument is put forth that what we think of as human will is an illusion that fits into the divine plan: God made us act this way.
This is a scary conclusion. According to the Bible (, , etc.) God is the source of all evil in the world. According to Calvinism, then, God is also the source of all stupidity.
One of the central tenets of Calvinism and its various bastard children is the concept of finite number of “elect.” Revelation 7:4, and 14:1-3 are very specific: out of all the world, only 144,000 people will be saved. There is a huge debate in Calvinistic circles over whether this number is metaphorical (recall: there are 12 Tribes of the Chosen Race, Israel, so 12×12=144) or to be taken at face value. Presbyterians fall into the former category, Jehovah’s Witnesses camp out in the latter. I have found conflicting information on where John Calvin himself stood on this matter. Either way, since a specific number is given, God must already know who they are, and usually it is opined that God knew who these elect were from the beginning of the Universe. So hopefully you are one of those 144,000 — but if not, tough titty to you.
And like I said: nothing you can do will change that, either.
This idea on itself frightens me, as it undermines both concepts of ‘free will’ and ‘think for yourself!’ Unfortunately, it gets worse.
Subsequent adherents to Calvin’s twisted theology came up with a five-point summation of it as a religious system; John Calvin himself did not originate this, but undoubtedly would have agreed with it. These five points are interconnected and rely on each other for internal verification. Adherents must accept all five points simultaneously; prove one part wrong and the whole thing collapses. This twisted little mobeus loop logic is known by the acronym T.U.L.I.P.
Total depravity of mankind. (aka Original Sin) Adam and Eve sinned before they had children, so those subsequent children (and ultimately all of mankind) carry that sin inherently and physically.
Unconditional election. If God chooses you, you will answer. God already knows who is chosen, and nothing you can do will change that or help you become one if you aren’t already.
Limited Atonement. Christ only died for the sins of those 144,000. Everybody else still suffers from Original Sin and will go to Hell.
Irresistible Grace. The 144,000 lucky enough to get God’s Grace will have no choice in the matter. These people are guaranteed to be born with Grace.
Perseverance of the saints. If you are one of those lucky 144,000, you will lead a good life and never sin; God will see to it that you remain without sin for your entire life.
There actually is a bit of logic to that order: 1) mankind needs salvation, 2) God picks who will be saved, 3) God sends Christ to atone for the sins of those lucky few, 3) He lets those people know they are saved, and 5) He arranges it so they will remain holy to the end.
This is scary stuff, and if true just makes you want to throw in the towel life-wise. After all, why bother? If you’re one of the saved, then nothing you do is wrong, and if you’re not one of the elect, then nothing you do will ever make a difference.
Whole volumes have been penned both defending Calvinism and refuting it, and amusingly the two sides frequently pull out the same Bible verses to defend their view. I’ll specifically skip going over them here, partly because in an earlier draft of this article I actually attempted to do so and it quickly reached manifesto proportions. Although I obviously favor the anti-Calvinist angle, I felt it was only fair to present the Calvinist “pro” arguments at the same time so interested readers could ‘think for themselves.’ I still have the draft of my tulip rebuttal available, but intrigued readers can do a Google search and find much of the same information in excessive detail supporting both pro and con arguments.
It is much easier to simply skip to the conclusions and point out that Calvinism — if it were true — leads to the inescapable conclusion that God is at best incompetent and at worst insane.
Original Sin alone is a good argument for that, but His only offering a finite few salvation seals the deal. Proponents of predestination have long wrestled with the idea that if God knew and preordained everything, why would He allow the Tree-in-Eden/mankind’s “fall” scenario to happen in the first place? Remember: if we are made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26) and we would do something as foolhardy as eating from the Tree, then what does this say about our Creator? Also, is God really so cruel as to punish people for an event that they had no control over? Adam and Eve ate from the Tree, I didn’t, yet I have to bear their burden. Most non-Calvinist Christians reply that Jesus gave people the possibility of doing away with that problem, and all they have to do is accept them of their own free will. Not so with Calvinism; God is only allowing a few, finite elect to be saved, and everyone else gets tossed into Hell.
To me, this is an updated system of Gnosticism. Most Gnostic schools of thought had it that the God who created the world was not the real God, but an underling (usually called the Demiurge) who was either imperfect or insane (or both.)
Any Creator who would come up with and actually implement a Calvinistic system is, in my humble opinion, fucking nuts.
Ask Evil Matt
The Evil One fields your queries, as channeled by Sister Ob’dewlla ‘X’.
Q: Who was the one English Pope?
A: Nicholas Breakspear, aka Adrian IV. He was born in Langley, Hertfordshire (date unknown; ca. 1100.) By his teens he emigrated with his parents to France, and entered the Catholic clergy. He was crowned Pope on December 4th, 1154, and served tumultuous five-year reign during which he lamented to his friend John of Salisbury that he wished he’d never left England. In 1155, Adrian issued the Bull Laudabiliter [don’t laugh: Papal orders are called “Bulls”!] that effectively donated Ireland (as a Papal fief) to King Henry II of England, thus “legally” making Ireland part of the fledgling English empire. This was essentially Papal blessing for a conquesting invasion. One of the reasons given for this was so England could bring Christianity to the island of pagan Celts. This is curious, as supposedly “Saint” Patrick had done the same thing eight hundred years earlier. Most scholars believe the document is real, though some equate it to an English forgery along the lines of the infamous . Adrian IV died on September 1st, 1159, but I cannot find a consensus opinion as to what he died of; some claim “natural causes,” some suspect foul play at the instigation of Frederick of Barbarossa. Upon his death, the Catholic Church went into schism as two claimants simultaneously arose, each insisting he was Pope and the other was not. Depending on your point of view, the next Pope was Alexander III or Victor IV (Frederick’s puppet Pope.)
Q: How did Marie Antoinette die; if she was guillotined, who was the person it took multiple axe swings to behead?
A: Marie Antoinette was guillotined on October 16, 1793. Most likely you are thinking of Mary, Queen of Scots, who was executed on February 8, 1587 for plotting insurrection against her sister Queen Elizabeth I. It took two swipes with the axe to get her head off. When the executioner lifted her head to show the assembled crowd, he found he was holding a wig — no one knew Mary had lost her hair. Then her body began to move about. It was quickly discovered Mary had brought her pet terrier to her own execution under her dress.
Q: "Mister Eagle"... What the hell?
A: Lyrics by the Village People make the most sense in retrospect, when you understand they are veiled references to homosexual counterculture. This little nug, from Macho Man, is no exception. The full line, “call him Mister Eagle, dig his chain” is a reference to a gay leather bar in New York called The Eagle which has been around since the ’70s. Each year they have a contest to find a macho man in bondage gear, and dub the winner “Mr. Eagle.”
Q: Is there a special term for a herd of yaks? (ie: school of fish, gaggle of geese, pod of whales, etc.)
A: Since yaks are bovines (it is possible to interbreed them with cattle) they are covered by the bovine term, herd. Rather mundane, I think; “herd of yaks” just lacks any panache. I am suggesting a grassroots movement to change this to “a stack of yaks”.
Q:Who is Merrett Stone?!?!?!?
A: Both Tom-Servo and TV’s Frank couldn’t piece this one together (perplexed readers are referred to the MST3K take of “The Rebel Set”) so I doubt I can do much better. However, Tom-Servo was right about one thing: the creepy conductor was not Merrett Stone; that was Byron Foulger.
Q: What hotel did John Belushi die in?
A: Belushi died at the Chateau Marmont (Suite 3) on Sunset Boulevard. There is even a web page devoted to this.
Got a question? .
The Hedgehog Corner
By Harriet the Hedgehog
Although we ’hogs love munching on worms, crickets, slugs, and other garden pests, seems a few of you humans have gotten the wrong idea:
Hedgehog mania has accounted for at least one business success story: Hedgehog Foods Ltd., one of Europe's biggest makers of organic potato chips, or crisps at the British call them. In 1981, Philip Lewis, a pub owners in Wales and devotee of hedgehog jokes, decided as a lark to produce "hedgehog flavored" crisps. Sales boomed, but it didn't take long for angry hedgehog lovers to blow the whistle, fearing that the crisps were actually made from hedgehogs. In fact, they were flavored with pork fat.
But then, in 1982, Britain's Office of Fair Trading hauled Mr. Lewis into court for false advertising. A settlement ultimately was reached under Mr. Lewis interviewing gypsies, who actually do eat baked hedgehog, ascertained what hedgehogs taste like and commissioned a flavorings firm to more or less duplicate the flavor. He changed the labels from "hedgehog flavored" to "hedgehog flavor," and all interest were satisfied.
Last year Hedgehog Foods had sales of $3.6 million and is now a major contributor to St. Tiggywinkles Hospital, plugging the hospital on every package. "Looking back, it was a bit gruesome, that flavor," Mr. Lewis concedes.
As shade said earlier, commenting on SARS, “I’d have expected more from a Welshman!”
For those wondering, by the way, the St. Tiggywinkles mentioned above is a hospital exclusively for hedgehogs, located in Buckinghamshire. Hapless hedgehogs are sent from all over, mostly through British Rail’s overnight parcel service, which actually has a special rate for shipping injured hedgehogs.
this just in...
As of February 20, 2005, the site is no longer active, as you can tell from the missing graphic. It was a cute pic, though, and I knew I should have .gif-lifted it when I had the chance...
Trust no one
and Always keep your lighter handy!
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