People Unclear

An ongoing scandal – number 15

The meme doesn’t have anything to do with this installment of People Unclear. But it was handy, and the Reverend Jeffreys needed some more exposure. Anyhow, here’s what’s wacko today:

Biblical prophecy claims the world will end on Sept. 23, Christian numerologists claim

A Christian numerologist claims that the world will end next Saturday when a planet will, supposedly, collide with Earth.

Saturday, 23 September 2017. That’s today, and I’m planning on taking the rest of the day off. After I take Barbara Jean out to dinner.

No, wait! This deserves more. It needs some Skeptical Analysis. Here’s more from Fox News.

According to Christian numerologist David Meade, verses in Luke 21:25 to 26 are the sign that recent events, such as the recent solar eclipse and Hurricane Harvey, are signs of the apocalypse.

Let’s examine that:

Luke 21:25-26 King James Version (KJV)

25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;

26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.

And that is that. Nothing about 23 September, in any year. But wait! Fox News has still more:

Sept. 23 is a date that was pinpointed using codes from the Bible, as well as a “date marker” in the pyramids of Giza in Egypt.

This is getting deeper than I can probe before dinner. Back to Fox News for additional detail:

Meade has built his theory on the so-called Planet X, which is also known as Nibiru, which he believes will pass Earth on Sept. 23, causing volcanic eruptions, tsunamis and earthquakes, according to British newspaper The Sun.

The Sun link points to the following:

Conspiracies about the mysterious planet named Nibiru suggest it could be headed towards Earth to destroy it on September 23.

It was first mentioned in 1976 by author Zecharia Sitchin in his book The 12th Planet.

He believed the planet is home to ancient aliens called the Annunaki who he claimed created the human race.

Aw, rats! I have a copy of the Sitchin book, but it’s not handy right now, And Amazon wants $16 for a Kindle edition. Barbara Jean would never sign off on the purchase. However, a PDF download is available from FreePDF. Here’s the cover:

Here’s what Sitchin has to say by way of introduction:

GENESIS
THE PRIME SOURCE for the biblical verses quoted in The Twelfth Planet is the Old Testament in its original Hebrew text. It must be borne in mind that all the translations consulted of which the principal ones are listed at the end of the book – are just that: translations or interpretations. In the final analysis, what counts is what the original Hebrew says.
In the final version quoted in The Twelfth Planet, I have compared the available translations against each other and against the Hebrew source and the parallel Sumerian and Akkadian texts/tales, to come up with what I believe is the most accurate rendering.
The rendering of Sumerian, Assyrian, Babylonian, and Hittite texts has engaged a legion of scholars for more than a century. Decipherment of script and language was followed by transcribing, transliterating, and finally, translating. In many instances, it was possible to choose between differing translations or interpretations only by verifying the much earlier transcriptions and transliterations. In other instances, a late insight by a contemporary scholar could throw new light on an early translation.
The list of sources for Near Eastern texts, given at the end of this book, thus ranges from the oldest to the newest, and is followed by the scholarly publications in which valuable contributions to the understanding of
the texts were found.

[Zecharia Sitchin, The 12th Planet. From the introduction]

Well, that explains a lot. A hair de loon writes a book of fables, sourcing another book of fables, and another master of confabulation picks up on that, and suddenly nobody has any place to go come Sunday, 24 September. And I had a trip out of town planned.

It’s a good thing I don’t believe in fairy tales. Unlike some politicians I could name.

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Bad Joke of the Week

One of a continuing series

Two hunters are preparing for an outing, and they both take a course on hunting safety. There is an examination at the end, and both do well.

Comes the second day of their hunting expedition, and they figure they are hopeless lost in the woods. They think back to the safety course they took.

“It says we should shoot three times into the air and wait for somebody to come find us. They do that, and they wait.

They figure they need to repeat the process, and they do. Then they wait.

By now it’s dark, and they are faced with the prospect of spending the night lost in the woods.

“What do you think we should do?” one asks.

The other responds, “Let’s give it one more try before we give up.”

The other hunter has some bad news. “But we only have two arrows left.”

The Golden Shower

Number 23

It’s a story that will not go away, possibly because I love it so much, and I want to keep coming back to it. It’s long past wondering whether Donald Trump paid prostitutes to pee on a bed in a Moscow hotel. It’s to the point we have Justice Department lawyers in a full-court press trying to unravel just how much involvement the Trump campaign had with Russian operatives bent on impacting the 2016 election. Almost every day there is a new headline. Here are two, starting with The New York Times yesterday:

Trevor Noah Thinks Paul Manafort Got Mixed Up With the Wrong Crowd

Guilty Associations?

As the special investigator Robert Mueller presses on with his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign, reports have surfaced that Paul Manafort, then the Trump campaign chairman, offered to privately brief a Russian billionaire on the status of his primary campaign. Trevor Noah doesn’t think there’s any way to put a positive spin on that one.

“Manafort offered to brief a Russian oligarch on the campaign that he was running for Trump. Now, does that prove he did anything wrong? No, but ask yourself this: When has the phrase ‘Russian oligarch’ ever been a good thing? It’s like the phrase ‘a cappella concert,’ or ‘unmarked van,’ or ‘homemade condom.’” — TREVOR NOAH

Trevor Noah, of course, is not a news reporter. He’s a comedian pulling to his radio and TV audience. But this is an indicator as to how far this story has seeped into the daily conversation. Of more immediate interest is the infamous Steel dossier, the tale of which continues to surface. From The New York Times last Tuesday

WASHINGTON — A U.S. Senate panel probing alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election abruptly canceled an interview with President Donald Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen on Tuesday after he issued a statement about his testimony in violation of committee policy.

The relevance crops up a few paragraphs in:

Cohen’s name surfaced in a dossier compiled by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele that reported Cohen played an important role in liaison with the Russian government and secretly met with Kremlin officials in Prague in August 2016.

The Steele dossier, Cohen said in his statement, was “riddled with falsehoods and intentionally salacious allegations.”

“I have never in my life been to Prague or to anywhere in the Czech Republic,” he said.

Current and former U.S. intelligence officials have said that while they cannot verify all the details in the Steele dossier, neither have they debunked it entirely.

To be sure, it is not what Michael Cohen did or did not do that is of much interest. What is of interest is whether this part of the Steele dossier has merit:

However, there were other aspects to TRUMP’s engagement with the Russian authorities. One which had borne fruit for them was to exploit TRUMP’s person  obsessions and sexual perversion in order to  obtain suitable ‘kompromat’ (compromising material) on him. According to Source D, where s/he had been present, TRUMP’s perverted) conduct in Moscow included hiring the presidential suite of the Ritz Carlton Hotel, where he knew president and Mrs OBAMA (whom he hated) had stayed on  one of their official trips to Russia, and defiling the bed where they had slept by employing a number of prostitutes to perform a ‘golden showers’ (urination) show in front of him. the hotel was known to be under FSB control  with microphones and concealed cameras in all the main rooms to record anything they wanted to.

Americans should rightly cast doubt on allegations that a candidate for our highest office would engage in such activities. Then too, it could have been a ploy by Donald Trump to make President James Buchanan look good.

The truth is out there, somewhere, but it may turn out to be not very interesting. It’s the search for truth that is the thing. And it’s a gas.

There will be more. Keep reading.

Buyer’s Remorse

Number 22 in a series

Full disclosure:

I do not post these to make fun of Donald Trump, current President of the United States. I post these to make fun of the people who voted for Donald Trump. My intent is to see they get no rest, and I will remind them as often as I am able, that this is what they wanted. So where to start?

How about some tweets from the past. It would appear there is a topic of particular interest to the current President of the United States  Somebody else reviewed past tweets and brought these to my attention. Here they are, apparently for real:

Sadly, because president Obama has done such a poor job as president, you won’t see another black president for generations!

Sadly, the overwhelming amount of violent crime in our major cities is committed by blacks and hispanics-a tough subject-must be discussed.

: Saw editorial on TV. Forcing whites out of their properties & throwing them into the streets with nothing.”

How is ABC Television allowed to have a show entitled “Blackish”? Can you imagine the furor of a show, “Whiteish”! Racism at highest level?

Sadly, the overwhelming amount of violent crime in our major cities is committed by blacks and hispanics-a tough subject-must be discussed.

If you need me to explain this, post a comment, and I will elaborate.

And may Jesus have mercy on our souls.

Friday Funny

Number 77 of a series

Same as last week. Please note that Loyce Fredrikson’s avatar is an elephant.

Is there such a thing as “dumb shaming?” Is it a horrible thing to do? Should people be publicly humiliated for being terminally stupid? Is this funny or just plain nasty. Who cares? Loyce Fredrikson may be stupid beyond what the law allows, but inadvertently she is funny.

Buyer’s Remorse

Number 21 in a series

Full disclosure:

I do not post these to make fun of Donald Trump, current President of the United States. I post these to make fun of the people who voted for Donald Trump. My intent is to see you get no rest, and I will remind them as often as I am able that this is what they wanted. So where to start?

Start? We are done. Look at the meme above, created by somebody more clever than me. And that is all. Post a comment if you need any explanation.

And may Jesus have mercy on our souls.

Your Friend The Handgun

Nothing new here, folks.

The National Rifle Association works tirelessly to defend the Second Amendment’s guarantee that all citizens have the right to carry firearms to protect themselves. Because of this, the United States is the safest of the industrialized countries—with a few minor exceptions:

Two 3-year-old boys were wounded Friday evening in an accidental shooting outside of a Chuck E. Cheese’s restaurant in southwest Fort Worth, police said.

The children were taken to Cook Children’s hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The incident happened about 5:50 p.m. in the parking lot of the Chuck-E-Cheese’s at Southwest Loop 820 and International Plaza in the Overton Park Plaza shopping center.

Sgt. Marc Povero, a police spokesman, said the children left the restaurant ahead of their parents and went to the family vehicle, where they found a .380-caliber pistol. As one of the children was playing with the weapon, it discharged, injuring the child in the hand and striking the other child in the back.

Any earnest defender of the Second Amendment will tell you this is a small price to pay to protect us from foreign terrorists coming across our borders in droves.

The Age Of Embarrassment

Number 15 in a series

From the journal Science

 

There was a time we now call the Age of Enlightenment, centered in the 18th century. It was a time of scientific awakening, a time from which sprang many of our modern scientific principles. That was so three centuries ago. We may now have entered the Age of Embarrassment:

Science Teaching Guidelines Trigger Criticism in New Mexico

Sept. 19, 2017, at 5:09 p.m.

By MORGAN LEE, Associated Press

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Environmentalists and educators raised new objections Tuesday to proposed changes to teaching standards for science in New Mexico that substitute references to rising global temperatures and climate change with statements about climate “fluctuations.”

The New Mexico Public Education Department has suggested several custom additions and deletions as it moves forward with adopting a set of science standards developed by a consortium of states and the National Academy of Sciences.

Additions that highlight the study of New Mexico’s unique natural history are being overshadowed by several deletions of references to evolution, the 4.6 billion-year age of the earth and climate change.

My goodness! Is it time to ride that old dinosaur into ground again?

The story, featured in The Washington Post yesterday, further describes idiotic themes promoted by the Mercer Counter public school system. According to the Post report, a lesson contained the following language: “imagine that human beings and dinosaurs existed at the same time.” It continued: “So picture Adam being able to crawl up on the back of a dinosaur!” Additionally: “He and Eve could have their own personal water slide! Wouldn’t that be so wild!”

The Associated Press story, running in U.S. News and World Reports, has more to say. Issues such as this are often advanced by politicians who have personal stakes. Apparently one such is Representative Jim Smith, who is also a retired school teacher. He is quoted as saying:

“I think it’s better to take the middle ground where people in all those different areas of the state can accept standards that they can teach within,” he said. “You give students the opportunity to come to their own conclusions. I as a science teacher certainly don’t deny that there is global warming happening. I think ‘fluctuations’ is a better term for it.”

An inch-deep Google search does not reveal a lot about Representative Smith’s personal life, and his record in Santa Fe shows a genuine concern for good government. However, statements such as “You give students the opportunity to come to their own conclusions,” are indicative of the creationist movement’s approach to public school encroachment. Laws enacted in other states to promote “teaching the controversy” have demonstrated to be thinly-disguised fronts to enable teachers desiring to promote creationism and other biblical teachings. One effect of such laws is to provide cover for teachers who go outside the curriculum and introduce religious concepts.

From all appearances, Dr. Smith finds fault with the idea that human activity is mainly responsible for global warming. He likes the term “fluctuations” to give the idea the climate has always been changing, and there is no need to take action to forestall any calamitous consequences. He takes this stance in defiance of the best conclusions of modern science.

A story appearing in the Albuquerque Journal further highlights attempts to dilute the teaching of biological evolution:

 

The plan was criticized Friday by Stephanie Ly, president of the American Federation of Teachers New Mexico, who called it a “perverted, watered-down vision” of the Next Generation Science Standards.

Ly accused Ruszkowski in a written statement of proposing standards “that question climate change, deny evolution, promote the fossil fuel industry, and even question the age of the Earth – all areas of consensus among the scientific community.”

One proposed addition to the high school curriculum asks students to use a model to describe the effects of energy flows on Earth “that were caused by natural occurrences that are not related to human activity.”

Another omits the word “evolution” and replaces it with the phrase “biological diversity.”

Nothing has to date been signed off, and science teaching in New Mexico remains safe for the present. The continued actions by fact-deficient public employees remains a concern to a population still possessed of a healthy respect for fact-based governance. Though it may never come to pass, we continue to look forward to that day when creationists ride the dinosaur into the sunset.

And may Jesus have mercy on our souls.

Bad Movie Wednesday

One of a continuing series

I first caught a glimpse of this while sitting through a long airplane ride. I didn’t plug in the ear buds, opting, instead, to try and get some sleep. I opened my eyes from time to time and kept seeing the same thing as before. I knew at the time I would need to see this movie some day, for free.

And here it is, Spider-Man, from 2002, now streaming on Hulu. All right, I did not actually watch it for free, because Hulu is a subscription service. However, I did not have to pay extra to watch Spider-Man after watching all that other stuff on Hulu, including Elementary, which I watch a lot. Spider-Man was distributed by Columbia Pictures. Details are from Wikipedia.

Anybody not just now climbing out of a World War Two Nazi bunker knows the Spider-Man story. Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) is a nerdy high school senior who has the hots for Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst), also a senior and in Peter’s class. Actually, with a lot more class. Anyhow, at a school outing at Columbia University, Peter gets bitten on the finger by a mutant spider.

Returning from the outing and feeling mighty fatigued, Peter sleeps the remainder of the night. The next morning he awakes to an amazing transformation. He has developed the spiders’ quality of strength and agility, plus the ability to shoot spider web stuff. He shows his macho by defeating the perennial school bully.

He wins a pro-wrestling contest, only to be stiffed by the manager. His favorite uncle is killed by a mugger, and “Spidey” goes on the prowl for bad guys, in his made-to-order super hero costume.

A nemesis appears in the form of Norman Osborn (Willem Dafoe), billionaire father of Peter’s high school friend Harry. From there through the remainder of the movie it’s Spider-Man versus the Green Goblin (Norman Osborn transformed). All the while Peter watches from the side as Jane cuddles with Harry.

In the end, Spider-Man defeats the Green Goblin. Actually, the Green Goblin defeats himself when his robotic craft runs him through and through. And the plot consists of Spider-Man doing great deeds and the duet of Peter and Jane never connecting. It ends with Harry vowing to avenge his father’s destruction at the hands of Spider-Man. There will be a sequel.

And I will not be watching. It’s a small miracle this movie did not qualify as a Bad Movie of the Week.

Buyer’s Remorse

Number 20 in a series

Full disclosure:

I do not post these to make fun of Donald Trump, current President of the United States. I post these to make fun of the people who voted for Donald Trump. My intent is to see you get no rest, and I will remind them as often as I am able that this is what they wanted. So where to start?

Start with the image above. This is an apparent screen shot of something that Donald Trump re-tweeted. Somebody sent Donald Trump a cute GIF animation. It shows (if you will take a few seconds to watch it), Donald Trump playing golf. He takes a swing, and off flies the ball, to God only knows where. Then the view cuts to a sequence that shows presidential candidate Hillary Clinton boarding an airplane. Photo-shopped onto that sequence is the blur of a golf ball striking Clinton in the back and bouncing off. Then Clinton seems to fall from the impact. In reality she merely stumbled getting on board the plane. And that is so funny.

If you are in junior high.

But this is the President of the United States re-tweeting this bit of low-detonation humor. Let me repeat it: the President of the United States.

And may Jesus have mercy on our souls.