Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

05/06/2022 Who Doesn’t Love the Middle Ages?   Leave a comment

I thought today I’d look into a little more history because that’s what I love to do. For years I was obsessed with reading about the Roman Empire and all of the associated craziness that went on during those years but it’s time to move on to the Middle Ages. To say it wasn’t a great time to be alive would be an understatement, those folks were crazy. I’m going to summarize a number of things that went on during that time and you’ll all be glad that you weren’t there.

Christian Charity 1505

The new Portuguese viceroy, Francisco D’Almeida, sailed for India via the east coast of Africa. His men mutilated every Arab they found, cutting off the right hands of the man and the ears and noses of the women. Arriving in Goa, they proceeded to slaughter all 8000 Muslims in the city.

Over-Armed 1516

The Turks armed one of their galleys with an artillery piece so massive that when it went into action against the Portuguese, the recoil of the gun causing the vessel to capsized killing many of the crew.

Additional Christian Charity 1533

Faced with the prospect of being burned to death by the Spanish, Atahuallpa, the last emperor of the Incas, converted to Christianity. He was thus spared being burned at the stake and was then publicly garroted instead.

The Witch with Three Breasts 1536

Henry VIII’s second wife, Anne Boleyn, was beheaded, having been accused of adultery, incest, and witchcraft. In support of this last charge, it is said that she not only had 11 fingers on one hand but also three breasts – although the third nipple, supposedly used for suckling the devil, was actually a mole on her neck.

Assaulted by the Amazons 1542

On his epic voyage down the Amazon, Francisco de Orellana was attacked by a tribe of tall, white women, whose private parts were covered but otherwise unclothed. It was in honor of these warrior women that he gave the Amazon River its name.

That’s just five easy examples as to why no one would ever have wanted to live in the Middle Ages. The more I read about it, the worse it gets. Today the Christians claim that the Muslims are rabid-dog killers, but history reveals that the Christians were just as bad. I guess I’ll count my blessings that I live in an age where I don’t need a religious label to determine how I feel about things. I’m up to my neck in more examples like these and at some point, in the future, I’ll post a few more tidbits but it’s truly depressing as hell. The biggest mistake as I see it is never to mix religion and politics. It absolutely brutal.

RELIGION IS THE BEST (SARCASM OFF)

04/27/2022 “13”   Leave a comment

I’ve always wondered about certain things that’ve become part of the human experience. But why is the question. Why is the middle finger such a bad thing? Why is breaking a mirror bad luck? Why does anyone pay attention to such nonsense? I suppose that’s the main question for all of these superstitious types of things.

I’ve always been drawn to the number three for some reason, but I haven’t a clue as to why. I honestly could care less why, it’s just something I picked up as a kid and it’s still with me. Just like all these other things. One of them that really confuses me is the number “13”. What causes world famous, highly educated architects to build buildings worth millions of dollars but refuse to post a 13th floor. There really is a 13th floor but they choose to call it the 14th floor. How stupid is that? I decided to check out the number “13” and its history and here are a handful of odd and silly explanations. The number actually began as a good thing with some of the pagan religions but became a bad thing during the Middle Ages.

  • Judas, the betrayer, made it 13 at the last supper.
  • The Jews murmured 13 times against God during the exodus from Egypt.
  • The 13th psalm concerns wickedness and corruption.
  • The circumcision of Israel occurred in the 13th year.
  • In a twelve-month period, there are 13 full moons, and a woman on a 28-day menstrual cycle will be “unclean” as stated by Leviticus, 13 times a year.
  • There are 13 zodiac signs (Gemini is counted as two)
  • The Christ child received the three Magi on the thirteenth day of his life.
  • And there is also “triskaidekaphobia”.

I read all this ridiculousness (mostly religious claptrap) and just shake my head until occasionally when I’m put in a position where I need to make a decision between options. I look them over carefully, study them carefully, discuss them with trusted friends, and then I almost always choose the third one. I guess I’m as screwed-up as everyone else, but you need to know that I also step on sidewalk cracks and walk under ladders as often as I possibly can to convince myself that superstitions are just plain silly. But you should also know that if there’s a black cat nearby, I still tread carefully.

BE CAREFUL OUT THERE

04/23/2022 “Dune”   Leave a comment

I’ve always proclaimed my love for Sci-Fi. It’s been a consistent part of my life since I first watched my mother cover the walls of my bedroom with rocket ships and planets. Next came Sputnik and the space race began, and I was hooked. I read everything I could get my hands on that was sci-fi related and the first real book I devoured was Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. I found the book in a garbage can along the road as I was walking home from school one afternoon. My mind became instantly expanded in 1965 when the novel Dune was released. It was a complicated read for a young kid, but it was mind blowing as well. I read it two additional times with the book in one hand and a dictionary in the other. I wanted to understand it all.

In 1984 I was sent reeling when it was announced that a movie had been made. I loved the movie but as all movies do, they fall well short of the book. I saw that first movie a number of times over the years and still enjoy it to this day. That being said, I’ve read the entire five book series of Dune at least six times in the intervening years and it still blows my mind. Every time I reread it; I find things I missed before. As with J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, and Frank Herbert it staggers my imagination that they could sit down and write such epic works.

There was a TV series in 2000 but it gets no mention here. It sucked! I’ve recently began reading the original series again prompted by the release of the new movie. I’ve just finished The Children of Dune and I can’t wait to get started on the final two novels. I haven’t yet decided whether to see the new movie because I know in my heart it will disappoint me. Here are two quotes from the books I particularly liked. It’s this kind of writing that doesn’t translate well to a movie.

“The one-eyed view of our universe says you must not look far afield for problems. Such problems may never arrive. Instead, tend to the Wolf within your fences. The pacts ranging outside may not even exist.”

“Good government never depends upon laws, but upon the personal qualities of those who govern. The machinery of government is always subordinate to the will of those who administer that machinery. The most important element of government, therefore, is the method of choosing leaders.”

IF YOU GET A CHANCE, READ THE BOOK

03/08/2022 “Oddities”   Leave a comment

I am a constant collector of weird and unusual facts and information. During my travels if I see something that even looks a little bit interesting, I collected it. I have many books in my archives that I’ve not read as thoroughly as I’d like and information your see here is from one of those books. Hope you enjoy it.

  • As the great Chicago fire of 1871 killed 300 people, an even deadlier fire was under way 200 miles to the north. It devastated Peshtigo, Wisconsin, killing 600 people; but somehow it never got the same attention.
  • All of Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland, is heated by underground hot springs. Reykjavík is probably the cleanest capital city in the world.
  • The first hydrogen bomb, tested in 1952, was as powerful as the total of all the bombs dropped on Germany and Japan during World War II, including both of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
  • The African climate is not always warm. The Nile River has frozen over at least twice, in 829 A.D. and in 1010.
  • For amusement, it was agreed by four friends holidaying in Switzerland that each would write a ghost story. Percy B Shelley, George Byron, and Dr. John William Polidori never finished theirs. Only 18-year-old Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin did. She published it anonymously two years later, in 1818, with a preface by her husband, Shelley. Mary Shelley’s novel about Dr. Victor Frankenstein and his monstrous creation became a classic.
  • Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norkay deservedly received much praise when they were the first to climb to the summit of Mount Everest. Less known is the fact that they had a roster of 12 climbers, 40 Sherpa guides, and 700 porters.
  • Three pairs of common English rabbits were let loose in Australia, in the middle of the 19th century. Within a decade, the six rabbits had multiplied into millions, menacing the country’s agriculture.
  • Japan did not send an ambassador to another nation until it sent Niimi Masaoki to the US for a few weeks in 1860.
  • The daughters of a mother who is colorblind and a father who has normal vision will have normal vision. The sons will be colorblind, however.
  • Up to 150 tons of meteorite fragments slammed into the Earth each year. As far as is known, only seven people have been struck by such rocks from space.
  • By “deciphering” the Book of Revelations, a minister in Lochau in East Germany proclaimed that the world would end on October 18, 1533. When it didn’t happen, the minister, Michael Stiftel, was given a thorough thrashing by the townspeople.

I certainly hope you enjoy reading these obscure facts. It’s almost as much fun as actually collecting them. More are certain to follow because I barely scratched the surface of books I haven’t thoroughly read yet.

WHEN IN DOUBT, READ A BOOK

Interrogation-Old School   Leave a comment

Today’s the day for another somewhat gross and disgusting posting in line with my Crime and Punishment post from a few days ago. I’m not trying to be morbid, but exploring the human condition is interesting. In these days of Islamic terrorism where 10% of Muslims (rough estimate) want to kill us, I thought a historical review of torture techniques might be in order.

There was such an uproar made about the United States allowing waterboarding a few years back that the following list of torture techniques might have some of those terrorists praying for waterboarding. I’m a firm believer if somebody’s out kill you it is within your rights to do anything (and I mean anything) to protect yourself and an absolute requirement that you kill them back. If waterboarding helps keep me and mine safe, so be it. This list should let everyone know that things could be a helluva lot worse.

  • Foot Roasting – Victim immobilized on a frame and his bare soles coated with lard or oil and roasted over an open fire.
  • Pitch Capping – Boiling hot tar is poured into a bowl, which is then poured onto the bound victim. This boils the scalp. Then when the cap is ripped off it brings the scalp with it.
  • Denailing – Finger and toenails are ripped off by forcing flaming skewers tipped with sulphur under them.
  • The Rack – The victim is stretched over a rack with ropes ties to the hands and feet. The body is slowly stretched until the cords cut through the flesh of the arms.
  • Water Cure – Using a funnel the victim is forced to drink large quantities of water or nastier liquids. This causes great pain and vomiting when the stomach is distended. It is repeated as often as necessary.
  • Foot Beating – Beating the soles of the feet with a metal bar or stick.

And last but not least for the more liberal of our citizens and preapproved by the Democratic Party, intense tickling till they scream and a serious threat of calling their mother, should keep those terrorists awake nights. Brutal but necessary.

I ALWAYS LIKED THAT INTENSE TICKLING

01/25/2022 Crime and Punishment   3 comments

Being a former police officer, I still maintain interest in all things criminal, crime related, and punishment. I’m also a big fan of almost any book, fiction or nonfiction, about investigations concerning any crime you can think of. That makes today Crime and Punishment Trivia Day and I’ll pass along a few tidbits you may find interesting.

Let’s go back in history a few hundred years to examine methods of punishment for murderers, rapists, and traitors. From what I can see they were a little harsher with punishment than we seem to be these days.

  • First on the list is the wheel. Criminals were lashed to a wagon wheel and their limbs bludgeoned or broken by brute force. Ugly but effective.
  • Next, we have boiling. The criminals were immersed in boiling water, oil, or hot tar and fried to death. Yuck! Soups on.
  • Another favorite was flaying. That involves the removal of a person’s skin which could keep the criminal alive for a day or two until he died from shock. I’d say this is really cruel and really unusual punishment.
  • This is a Chinese favorite called “The Death of a Thousand Cuts”. It is where the criminal was lashed to a frame and over a period of days pieces of their body were severed and removed with a knife. Had to be the Mongolians who started this trend.
  • This crowd-pleaser is called disembowelment. The criminal’s abdomen was opened while alive with a knife, and his organs were individually removed, particularly the bowels. No comment on this disgusting method since I had it done to me but with an anesthesia.
  • Impalement involves driving a pointed stake through the victim’s body from the rectum up through the breast and shoulder. Ouch!!!!!
  • Stoning is when a large group of people were gathered together to throw stones at the criminal. The point here is that no single person is responsible for the death, it’s a group act. What a Sharia loving group.
  • Decapitation is the removal of the victims’ head by knife, sword, ax, or guillotine. One way to keep ahead of the criminals.
  • Burning at the stake involves exposing the criminal to direct flames or heat until death occurs. Barbecues had to start somewhere.
  • Hanging, drawn, and quartering requires criminals to be dragged behind a horse to a platform where they were then hanged, removed just before the moment of death, and then castrated, disemboweled, beheaded, and quartered. That’s like killing the criminal three times over.
  • And last but not least an unusual punishment popular in Southeast Asia from the 11th – 18th centuries. The criminal is tied up, placed under the foot of an elephant, and then crushed. No more circus visits for me, I’ll have nightmares.

I think all of the criminals living in this country should count their blessings and except Life Imprisonment Without Chance of Parole as being mighty generous and merciful. It’s hard to imagine how many of these methods were used often and without hesitation. It’s also hard to imagine how they had any crime rate whatsoever when the criminals knew these kinds of punishments were being handed out. But to quote an expert, “Stupid is as Stupid Does”.

THANKS GO OUT TO FORREST GUMP FOR THE QUOTE

01/03/2022 The Old Testament – The Good Book??   Leave a comment

Let’s start the new year off with a short rant about religion. Last month I finally purchased a copy of the Torah and as I read, I wondered what I could actually find in the Bible since most of the older religious documents of almost all religions are pretty blood thirsty.

Anyone who claims to admire and worship the biblical God has either abandoned all sense of moral judgment or has never actually read the Old Testament. Since most believers are good people, I prefer to assume the latter. I think the world would be a much better place if people would actually read the book. A.A. Milne, author of Winnie the Pooh, said: “The Old Testament is responsible for more atheism, agnosticism, disbelief — call it what you will — than any book ever written; it has emptied more churches than all the counterattractions of cinema, motor bicycle and golf course.” Here are a few more of the Old Testament tidbits that will have you rushing off to church.

  • Anyone arrogant enough to reject the verdict of the [holy man] who represents God must be put to death. Such evil must be purged.
  • I decided to order a man to lead the prayer and then take a flame to burn all those, who had not left their houses for the prayer, burning them alive inside their homes.
  • I will fill your mountains with the dead. Your hills, your valleys, and your streams will be filled with people slaughtered by the sword. I will make you desolate forever. Your cities will never be rebuilt. Then you will know that I am God.
  • Fight them until there is no more [disbelief or worshipping of other gods] and worship is for God alone.
  • Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother-in-law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.
  • Whoso fighteth in the way of God, be he slain or be he victorious, on him We shall bestow a vast reward.
  • Make ready to slaughter [the infidel’s] sons for the guilt of their fathers; Lest they rise and possess the earth and fill the breadth of the world with tyrants.
  • [God’s messenger] . . . was asked whether it was permissible to attack the pagan warriors at night with the probability of exposing their women and children to danger. The [holy man] replied, “They [women and children] are from them [unbelievers].”
  • Then I heard God say to the other men, “Follow him through the city and kill everyone whose forehead is not marked. Show no mercy; have no pity! Kill them all – old and young, girls and women and little children.”
  • “See, the day of the Lord is coming — a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger. . .. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty. . .. Their infants will be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses will be looted, and their wives violated.”
  • Keep [my holiday], for it is holy. Anyone who desecrates it must die.
  • The punishment of those who wage war against God and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified, or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter, they shall have a grievous chastisement.
  • “O daughter Babylon, you devastator! Happy shall they be who pay you back what you have done to us! Happy shall they be who take your little ones and dash them against the rock!”
  • “And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me but walk contrary unto me; Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins. And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat.”
  • “You shall acknowledge no God but me. . .. You are destroyed, Israel. . .. The people of Samaria must bear their guilt, because they have rebelled against their God. They will fall by the sword; their little ones will be dashed to the ground, their pregnant women ripped open.”

I for one am grateful that I was born after most of that craziness had run its course. There still are a few fanatics out there from all religions but they are thankfully very few in number.

AND PEOPLE SAY THE MUSLIMS ARE BLOODTHIRSTY

12/13/2021 Simple is My Way   Leave a comment

Many people have asked me why I don’t write about religion very often. Whether it’s Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, or any other, I don’t see the need. I don’t need an organization of millions to tell me; good is good, evil is evil, and bad is bad. Don’t do bad, don’t be evil, and do good. Is there any human being out there that doesn’t get that? I don’t think so. Even evil people know they’re doing evil and that they should be doing good, but they just choose not to. I also don’t see the need to be required to turn over a portion of my hard-earned wages so organizations can build gigantic, extravagant cathedrals, mosques, and temples in which to worship. To me it’s a no-brainer. If there is a God (I’m not a believer) and he’s everywhere, I can speak to him or her anytime I want. No church, no congregation, no donations, no preaching, and no stupid rituals . . . just simple communication.

In my humble opinion “simple” is the way to live your life. Believe what you will, keep it a private matter between you and your God (if’s that what you believe), and live your life. I have one philosophy and that is “Always do the right thing no matter the consequences”. None of this “do onto others as they would do unto you” nonsense. I don’t want to do unto anyone and I don’t want anyone doing unto me.

In the mid-60s I spent two wonderful years in the Republic of South Korea thanks to travel plans from Uncle Sam. I became immersed in their culture, their religions, and their people. I learned a lot. One of my habits on my off time was to travel through the countryside and explore. I’d hike between the minefields to reach the mountains and then just walk for miles.

It was on one of these walks that I had my eyes opened somewhat. I was probably four miles from the nearest hut, in the mountains near a place called Blue Lancer Valley. It was bright and sunny, and I hadn’t seen another human being or animal for most of the day. I was taking pictures and enjoying my time not being in the Army for a few hours. I walked around the bend in the trail along this mountainside and discovered a small statue of Buddha that had been carved into a large boulder a very long time ago. Stuck into the crevice in front of that statue was a bouquet of freshly cut flowers. I was always sorry I never got to meet the person who trekked all that way to place those flowers in that spot. That is a person who I would’ve liked to meet because for me that is religion at its best. Simple, private, heartfelt, and meaningful, at least to the person making the journey.

I’m still an unbeliever in all-things mystical but that day gave some hope. It demanded that I at least look into Buddhism as a simple way of learning how to deal with myself. I’m no Buddhist but many of their practices appeal to me, their simple way of living their life.

SIMPLE IS THE WAY

11 SHOPPING DAYS LEFT

12/12/2021 A New Normal   Leave a comment

With Christmas approaching I’ve been reflecting on things a little. I’ve observed over the last few decades that Fear appears to be winning the war against Courtesy. During this pandemic it’s gotten even worse because of the demands of social distancing. We as a people will need to readjust to our normal life at some point when this pandemic is no longer a critical issue. My only question: Can our society as it currently exists make the necessary adjustments to a “new normal” or just fall back into the same old self-destructive pre-pandemic rut?

It’s been a slow process that has us as a people becoming so paranoid of each other that courtesy and helpfulness between individuals can no longer be expected. I know if I saw someone in distress, I would react immediately but in the back of my mind I’d be thinking and worrying, “Is someone going to sue me or falsely accuse me of wrongdoing” just “to be on the safe side”. It’s a sad and dangerous commentary on what our society is becoming. People stand by and watch as others are raped, stabbed, and murdered, without taking any action as simple as a 911 call.

This kind of behavior is destructive to society, but I understand the reasons for it. If the country continues to permit individuals to rationalize any and all bad behavior up to and including murder, the situation will never improve. All of the psychobabble in the world cannot justify or excuse hard-core criminal behavior. Where there is a carrot there must be a stick. Lack of societal deterrents for crimes is to blame. If there is a crime, there must be swift punishment to send the proper message to the masses.

Soon, the pandemic will pass, and everyone will be scrambling to get back to the ‘old normal‘. I hope it doesn’t happen. The pandemic has shown us just how bad things can get under difficult circumstances, and yet we survived. It’s time for the younger generations to start voicing their beliefs and complaints, getting involved in government at every level, to help create a ‘new normal‘.

WE REALLY DO NEED A NEW NORMAL

12 Shopping Days Left

12/07/2021 Lucky Number?   Leave a comment

Over the years I’ve voiced my opinions concerning people obsessed with the supernatural and occult. Unfortunately, I haven’t always been kind in my criticisms and opinions about them. I’ve never been a believer of these superstitions like black cats walking in front of me or walking under a ladder. I always thought them silly, without basis in fact, just superstitious nonsense passed down from generations who apparently didn’t have a clue either. I hate to admit it, but I may have to eat my words.

While I totally scoff at almost everything superstitious, I discovered quite by accident that I’ve been paying closer attention to one superstition over the years and didn’t realize it. My obsession is and has been the number three. For most of my life I considered that my lucky number and if something occurred where I had to make choices and the number three was involved, I always picked number three. I don’t know why, it wasn’t planned, and I really didn’t realize the extent of the human races’ obsession with that number until now. So, I decided to do a little more research which opened my eyes even further. Here’s my homage to the number 3.

THE GENIE GAVE ME THREE WISHES

Three is the average number of seconds visitors to an Art gallery spent in front of each painting. Triceratops means three horned faces. Three goals are a hat trick. A triathlon is a three-part swim, run, and cycle competition. Any national flag made of three bands of color is a tricolor. The Three Musketeers in the novel by Alexander Dumas’s are Athos, Porthos, and Aramis. Dante’s Divine Comedy is structured around the number three, alluding to the holy Trinity. That book has three parts; Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso – each divided into 33 cantos in terza rima (three-line stanzas).

In Greek mythology, the three Fates control birth, life, and death; the three Furies upheld sacred laws; and the three Graces bestowed beauty and charm. The ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, and Romans all had Trinity’s of God’s. Jupiter’s symbol is a three-forked bolt of lightning, Neptune’s a three-pronged trident, and Pluto’s, a three headed dog. Hindus worship the trinity of Brahma, the Creator; Vishnu, the Perseverer; and Shiva, the Destroyer.

In Christianity, Christ represents one third of the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Ghost); he was visited by three wiseman at his birth; 33 years later, after Judas betrayed him for 30 pieces of silver and Peter denied him three times, he was crucified at 3 PM and rose from the dead three days later.

Time is threefold: past, present, and future. Pythagoras called three the perfect number, denoting beginning, middle, and end. The strongest shape is a triangle. The three states of matter are solid, liquid, and gas. Earth is the third planet from the sun. White light is made from three primary colors: red, blue, and green. The three primary colors of pigment are red, yellow, and blue, whose totality is black.

I suspect that all of the number three’s I listed above are only a small sampling of the use of the number three. Over the course of my existence, I’ve been subconsciously pelted with the number three in virtually every phase of my life. How could I not have three as my favorite number? Brainwashing at its absolute best.

REMEMBER THOSE “THREE LITTLE WORDS” TOO!

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