Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Fortean Times: Madonna Mania

From Fortean Times on-line:Madonna Mania
TED HARRISON looks back at the strange summer of 1985, when statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary all over Ireland started to move – at least according to the thousands-strong crowds who flocked to see these modern miracles. But what was going on? Optical illusions? Mass hysteria? A religious revival for hard times? Or something very strange indeed?

The summer of 1985 was a strange time to be in Ireland, as rumours of miracles and extraordinary events swept the country.

It was the summer when I went to Ireland and saw for myself a solid, inanimate statue of the Virgin Mary appear to sway from side to side.

The moving statue epidemic started in February that year. By September, almost 50 separate claims of moving statues and other strange phenomena had been reported at religious sites across the country. It was the year of Madonna Mania! [see FT45:6–7, 30–34]

Bill Maher Takes Heat Over Tim Tebow Tweet | ThePostGame

I like Maher, though he irritates me sometimes: his views on women, sex and appearances are shallow and I'm not a fanatical atheist like he is. But overall, he's okay in my book, even if he did refer to Marilyn Monroe as a "pie wagon." He's in trouble again, this time for his tweet on the prayerful Tim Tebow. One Fox pundit even called Maher "disgusting vile trash." Wow. There are lots of "vile disgusting trash" out there: child molesters, animal abusers, serial killers, war mongers, etc. but a comedian making fun of religion? Yep, goes right at the top of the list.

So what did Maher say anyway? He tweeted:
"Wow, Jesus just [screwed] #TimTebow bad! And on Xmas Eve! Somewhere ... Satan is tebowing, saying to Hitler "Hey, Buffalo’s killing them,"
I also like the way Maher's "beliefs" are lumped in together:
Maher, a proud atheist who supports legalizing pot, same-sex marriage and is a board member for PETA,

As if being an atheist isn't bad enough (and to many in this nation, it is, remember the recent poll that put atheist's on the same level as rapists?) supporting one's right to smoke herbs of your choice is added to the list, along with "same sex marriage" (oh you heathen, Bill Maher!) and then, lastly, "board member for PETA." As if animal rights and welfare is also suspicious.

Bill Maher Takes Heat Over Tim Tebow Tweet | ThePostGame

Monday, December 26, 2011

Alien Nativity

 Aliens and a  Shamanic Santa, created by a Portland, Oregon artist:

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Jeff Belanger: Santa is a Legend Not a Lie

I love this article by Jeff Belanger: Santa is a Legend Not a Lie

I don’t care if you’re Christian or not. I’m a paranormal guy. I believe in possession. In Judaism there’s the concept of the “Dybbuk,” which is a type of spirit possession. This possession can be a bad thing: like if you’re inclined to drink too much or do drugs, a spirit that did that in life may cling to you and push you over the edge; or it can be a good thing: you’re trying to get healthy and exercise and a spirit who did that in life may be drawn to you to help. We get possessed by good ideas, gut instincts, and inspiration all of the time. We also get inspired by great legends… like Santa Claus.

Santa’s legend and story has spread throughout the world. Each Christmas we get inspired… nay, possessed by this good spirit. I’m thrilled my daughter is eagerly awaiting St. Nick visiting our house. I want her to know the magic this figure holds.

By carrying on these traditions which were based on a real man, I become a part of the legend. I write myself into the story. I write my daughter into the story in the hopes that one day she too will become possessed by the spirit of Christmas. That she will be reminded to behave because someone is out there watching, that she will feel the urge to give to charities a little more, that she will know there’s still magic in the world.

This same perspective can be used for UFOs, Marian apparitions, etc. which is what I try to convey, but Belanger did it more articulately...

Holiday Cheer and Fear: Santa, St. Nicholas, Odin, Sinterklaas, and Krampus : Extraordinary Intelligence

From Natalina at Extraordinary Intelligence: Holiday Cheer and Fear: Santa, St. Nicholas, Odin, Sinterklaas, and Krampus a detailed and very good article. Enjoy!
In many parts of the world, St. Nicholas Day is far more important and more ardently observed than Christmas, although in some areas, both dates are enjoyed as holidays. Children will often set their shoes out by the fire or in a main living area, and on the eve of St. Nicholas day, their shoes will be filled with treats. St. Nick is usually depicted in his traditional Bishop’s garb, and while he is said to be kind and generous, he is also a firm believer in discipline. Kids might be given presents, or they may find that St. Nick has left his parents a rod or branch to spank the children who’ve been naughty.

While traditions vary from region to region, the gift giving elements stay relatively consistent. It’s the creative means of discipline that makes each Nation’s St. Nick story unique… and at times scary! And while Santa Claus doesn’t really have a sidekick, unless you count his reindeer or his elves, some Countries have given their versions of St. Nick a helper or two… and no example is more bizarre than that of the Netherlands’ Sinterklaas.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

You Pagan Christian Pagans, You

Another Christmas is the devil's work vid from the same people who gave us Santa is Satan (see previous post.) Love that Darth Vader-Monty Wooley impression though. (Who's Monty Wooley? If you don't know, he was a great actor from the golden era of films. Watch the clip :)

"Santa is Satan"

I think they're actually serious, despite the Darth Vader voice:

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Mich. Residents Receive Letter Calling Christmas Lights 'Pagan' - Yahoo!

Image source here

Mich. Residents Receive Letter Calling Christmas Lights 'Pagan' - Yahoo!
Homeowners in Hudsonville, Mich., have been singled out for displaying what an anonymous letter-writer calls "pagan" lights and decorations on their properties.
The letters start out on a friendly note, with "Hi Neighbor, you have a nice display of lights." But the self-described "love note" quickly changes tone, explaining how the "pagan tradition" of putting up lights began.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Religious Folk Art: "Sacrifice Beads" (St. Theresa)

At the local St. Vincent de Paul's the other day I noticed something new: lots of religious folk art items on a small display rack. I was surprised and delighted at the cost: this one was $1.00. St. Theresa Sacrifice Beads, with instructions.

A small plastic baggie, with a yellow piece of paper with instructions and blurb about St. Theresa:

St. Theresa Sacrifice Beads
St. Theresa medal on beaded string
St. Theresa (The Little Flower) used beads like these to count her "presents" to God Every (sic) day. Pull one bead for every sacrifice, good deed, or anything you do for the love of God. children can also count sharing, obeying their parents, being helpful, etc. They are also especially good for training children. Offer each "present" to God for souls and ask St. Theresa and Our Lady to help you pull many beads each day!

 "...especially good for training children." Scary. Inside the bag, along with the yellow paper, is a string of plastic blue and clear pony beads, and a medal of St. Theresa.

St. Vinnie's had several of these, along with rosaries and other saints, ranging in price from $1.00 to around $10.00, I think. I am going back for more!
Reverse side of St. Theresa medal

Vatican Astronomy - Shows - Coast to Coast AM

Brother Guy Consolmagno, astronomer at the Vatican's Observatory, guest tonight on Coast To Coast: Vatican Astronomy - Shows - Coast to Coast AM

Saudi Morality Police Propose Ban on “tempting” Eyes | Beauty - Yahoo! Shine

Saudi Morality Police Propose Ban on “tempting” Eyes | Beauty - Yahoo! Shine

According to an article in the Daily Beast, the CPVPV hasn't said what attributes define a "tempting eye." An anonymous Saudi journalist conjectured, "uncovered eyes with a nice shape and makeup. Or even without makeup, if they are beautiful, the woman will be in trouble." What really constitutes a pretty peeper is, of course, in the eye of the beholder, so the new law could essentially be a tool to arbitrarily control and harass any woman in public.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Saudi Arabia executes woman convicted of 'sorcery' - Yahoo! News

What can one say about this, except the obvious: sick bastards:Saudi Arabia executes woman convicted of 'sorcery' - Yahoo! News
The London-based al-Hayat daily, however, quoted Abdullah al-Mohsen, chief of the religious police who arrested the woman, as saying she had tricked people into thinking she could treat illnesses, charging them $800 per session.

Article added that a "female investigator" was involved, in an attempt to distance everyone from the barbarism of this crime.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Claudia Santini: Now Hiring Online: Nuns

At the Huffington Post, Claudia Santini writes about the cloistered sisters in Italy who use the internet to recruit new nuns: Claudia Santini: Now Hiring Online: Nuns
"Cloistered life in Naples is enjoyable and cheerful," they say, "This is a daily extraordinary adventure, even if we know that, being stared from the outside, our lives seem different. There are many young women bringing vocation in their heart, but they are not aware of it."

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Parasociology: Marian Apparitions at El-Zeitoun and Social Psi (part 4)

A well researched post from Eric Quellet at Parasociology on Marian apparitions, including the Zeitoun appiritons in 1968-1971: Parasociology: Marian Apparitions at El-Zeitoun and Social Psi (part 4)
(I've often wondered, and have commented in various blog postings, if those particular apparitions weren't some kind of human caused manifestation, and I still argue that they very likely were.) As you can see from the title this is "part 4" -- be sure to read the rest!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Believers view atheists as untrustworthy: study

AFP: Believers view atheists as untrustworthy: study

I went off on a rant, then said, screw it. Sigh. The arguments as to why this is so disgusting are obvious.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

After uproar, Ky. church revisits interracial ban - Yahoo! News

After uproar, Ky. church revisits interracial ban - Yahoo! News
However, racism has nothing to do with this, according to Melvin Thompson, the person behind voting for such a resolution and "former pastor" (!):

"I am not racist. I will tell you that. I am not prejudiced against any race of people, have never in my lifetime spoke evil" about a race, Thompson said earlier this week in a brief interview. "That's what this is being portrayed as, but it is not."