World Domination Update
“In Ricotta Velveeta”
vol. VI, iss. iv
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness”
Quote of the Moment: “I wasn’t expecting a Big Furry Monster!” — FireSkunk
Secret Word of the Day: sit on a squid
Site of the Week: Nuke the Hamptons
Barbecue Sauce of the Month: Saguaro Sal’s zesty prickly-pear blend
In this issue:· Gemstone File Redux
· Poking Fun at Fatima
· Analyzing Astrology
· Ask Evil Matt
· More Holy Hedgehogs
Intense fires raging across Arizona last month could only mean one thing: the Branch Floridian Summer Barbeque was a roaring success! Obviously we must invoke Rule Two (Deny Everything!) regarding the matter, and are happy to play along with the Disgruntled B.I.A. Patsy explanation offered by Park Rangers for the conflagration.
Also, we’re a bit sad at the intense devastation to residents and indigenous wildlife, but we’re turning the situation to our advantage! Park Rangers are auctioning off an ‘adopt a critter’ program, and saint has been actively pursuing getting a flock of roadrunners to run free-range on the BadAss compound. Meep Meep!
Still, was necessary to jet back to Florida shortly thenafter; partly to establish an alibi, but after four years it was time to make a pilgrimage to the birthplace of Branch Floridianism: The Octopus Garden.
Good thing I did, too. All the coffee there tasted like ass, and I was horrified to discover Sisbooomba had Ranch Dressing prominently displayed in the ’fridge, but the Barbeque Sauce was stashed way in the back. For this heinous heresy, Sisbooomba was sentenced to sit on a squid, which at the Octopus Garden is a pretty easy thing to do...
The best part of the trip was a diversionary drive to Orlando and the Universal Studios parks. The “Dr. Seuss” part alone was worth the price of admission, and is highly recommended to children of all ages.
The worst part, aside from being forced to start each morning with a cup of ass latté, was the fortune cookie I got at a Chinese buffet near the Octopus Garden:
But I already knew that...
meanwhile, in other news...
Ahead of our Time: Pledge Bashing
As further proof that The Branch is on the cutting edge of controversy, back in February the WDU did an article on The Pledge of Allegiance and why it is bullshit.
On June 26th, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with plaintiff (and atheist) Michael Newdow and declared the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional, as the “one nation under God” is a brazen violation of the First Amendment’s separation between Church and State. After all, whose God are we talking about? Catholic God? Mormon God? Hindu God? Islamic God? The problem is obvious.
Or is it?
The national reaction to this correct interpretation of the Constitution was understandable (if unfortunate) in light of the hyper-patriotism that swept the U.S. since 9/11: “have they lost their minds?” Even GWB said the ruling was “ridiculous” and “...out of step with the traditions and history of our country,” and that the ruling demonstrated a need for “common sense judges... who understand we derive our rights from God.”
Obviously, with a statement like that, Dubya himself doesn’t have a firm grasp on the concept of “separation of Church and State.”
While saint and I agree with the Court ruling, we are surprised that the case even made it that far. In 1943 the Supreme Court ruled (in West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette) that saying the Pledge was optional. Peer pressure aside, no one forces you to say it, there’s no gun to your head, so if you don’t like it, don’t participate.
Unfortunately, in this post 9/11 environment, most people can’t think straight, and mistakenly see the attack on the Pledge as an attack on America itself, without bothering to actually think about the subject.
Branch Floridian Zippos???
The Ignition Missionary recently turned saint towards a dealer who does custom engraving on lighters, and we are looking into possible four-color designs for Branch Floridian Zippos. An initial survey of Faithful Floridians showed that at present it wouldn’t be cost-effective to invest in them, but as soon as we have money to burn (nyuk nyuk) you can be sure we’ll go for it.
So keep an eye on the Merchandise Page, and hopefully some day soon you’ll be able to Always Keep Your Lighter Handy(!) in true Branch Floridian Fashion.
As hopefully most faithful Branch Floridians are aware, the official B.F. currency is Flax.
We even have our own currency minted: the One Flax Piece.
However, this started an interesting debate amongst saint and myself over what the Flax currency symbol should be. We quickly decided on the Greek letter ‘Phi’, as in Φ. However, we are still working out what to do for the weights and measures part.
This conversation quickly devolved into commentary on the appropriateness of who is on our money. Obviously, we find it rather amusing that Lee Harvey Oswald is on the One Flax Piece, but saint made an interesting rant about who is minted on American money.
A select survey of some of the more choice representations:
Andrew Jackson, on the $20, could hardly count to 20 (being barely literate) and was notorious for his hatred of banks. Indeed, one of his first actions was to shut down the Federal Reserve Bank.
Franklin Roosevelt, on the dime, was largely responsible for drastically over-inflating the value of American money and nearly wrecking the already trashed economy with his horrific New Deal.
Salmon Chase, on the now non-circulated $50,000, likewise over-inflated money by taking us off the gold standard to finance the War of Northern Aggression (aka the Civil War.)
Perhaps the only truly appropriate figure to appear on money was Mercury, on pre-1945 dimes. Got to admit, it’s fitting to have a pagan god on our currency...
[subject: WDU IDEA]
in world war two, i think, we retreated from a major battle. we left behind our rations, which contained a large supply of spam. the germans ate all of it, they loved it in fact. but...there is a chemical in spam, that, in large quantities makes humans impotent. the germans thought we had poisoned them, and surrendered to get the 'cure'. this is a funny story, i think, and would make a wonderful piece in the WDU with the way that you write. let me know your thoughts...
Sounds like you’re describing the Battle of the Bulge. However, I looked into this, even asked Souly (who eats so much Spam he has a shrine set up to it) but could find no authentic commentary on it, let alone fictitious references. Most likely it’s just an urban legend started by someone who understandably can’t stand the stuff...
Hi Evil Matt,
I came across your web site while doing a search on the Gemstone File a subject that caught my interest a while back and on which I am now writing a book.
FYI, Hustler did not begin to publish the original Gemstone File, only the Skeleton Key, and that in an edited form (as the full Key is clearly libelous). This was in the Sept. 1979 issue of Hustler. Larry Flynt was shot before the publication of the Key. Also Bruce Roberts died on July 16, 1976 not July 30, 1975.
You could obtain an edited transcript of some of the original letters in Stephanie Caruana's CD, available through her website at www.gemstone-file.com or from Last Hurrah Books. I would go with the latter if you want it this year.
One part of your Gemstone piece caught my eye. You said: Various small presses have published selected excerpts of the original ’File, though oddly each of these picks and chooses what it prints and/or omits, with no real uniformity between the versions.
I am always on the lookout for versions of the File that I may have missed. What do you have?
I do have a copy of the original Bruce Roberts letters, about 350 pages, and a digital transcript of same. I don't know where I would put 10,000 tons of flax however.
I cannot let you have a copy of the actual Gemstone letters because running down to Copy Mat and making 350 legal size copies one by one and then mailing them to you is simply too much trouble. However, soon I may email you a transcript of the letters, which is much easier to read anyway. Or I may not.
After all, half the fun of having the Gemstone File is that almost no one else does. (Eventually I will release the File to a waiting world.)
So for now you will have to be content with a few excerpts:
Christ was born in April 6 B.C. He had other commandments. "Kill cancer" was one. "Put the murderers on the cross—not me was another. Those were his dying words."
Fatima #3 says: "Satan will reach the summit of the church. the Great War will happen in the second half of the 20th century."
In China they have a phrase: Chappaquiddick Big Dickie, Chappaquiddick Little Dickie, and Chappaquiddick Alioto."
To his mother: "We will see if you love shit enough to go down the shit drain with it."
Join me for the boogaloo—gang-bang on Christ.
To Ralph Nader: "That promised present—a handful of infectious shit in your face, will arrive on schedule"
The truth is harsh. So is murder.
Cancer expouses the perpretation of cancer. It will never expose itself.
A 10,000 ton deposit has been dropped into your account!
The tidbits provided help sway me towards the opinion that the Gemstone File was more a creation of Roberts’s brain tumor than any inside information into The Machine. I am uncertain how Christ, a first century peasant, could give a commandment to “kill cancer” when the condition was not known for what it was at the time. Divine medical insight aside, the alleged Third Fatima Prophecy is a giveaway. Pope John Paul II revealed the contents of the third oracle on June 26, 2000, about two decades after Bruce died, and it certainly was not what Roberts claimed it to be. [see saint’s Fatima peshar, below]
Still, I look forward to reading your book when it is available.
saint’s Fatima peshar
The above Gemstone reference to the mysterious Third Prophecy of Fatima caught my interest. Even in Religious Circles this is not a widely known subject, and outside of said circles it is all but unheard of. I try to keep up on such things, yet even I had only a cursory knowledge of it. Although largely considered to be a “Catholic Phenomenon,” it does have a handful of adherents outside of The Church, which even the Vatican itself collectively refers to it as “The Cult of Fatima.” Pope John Paul II himself can be reckoned a member.
When shade came to me for comment on Roberts’ revelation of the fabled Third Prophecy of Fatima and Roberts’ alleged revelation of it, I sheepishly admitted ignorance to the finer points of the subject. Curiously, that same day The History Channel ran an exposé on the subject, and I was surprised to learn that not only had the Third Prophecy been publicly revealed by the Vatican a few years ago, but that there was a surprisingly large controversy over whether they had revealed all of it.
As Religious Conspiracies are the Holy Grail of World Domination Update fodder, shade and I decided it merited an article in this issue.
Curiously, a Catholic researcher, Father Nicholas Gruner, looked into the Fatima story in the ’70s, and after a decade of research wrote and exhaustive 22-volume chronicle/commentary of it. Upon completion, he was officially forbidden by the Church to publish it, and on September 12th, 2001, the Vatican officially announced that Father Gruner was “... unfaithful to the Church, or the Pope, or the Magestirium” and “...does not enjoy the approval of legitimate ecclesiastical authority.”
Seems they didn’t dig what he had to say about the subject.
The background leading up to the Fatima controversy runs something like this:
At noon on Sunday, May 13, 1917, Lucia Santos and her two cousins, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, were playing in a field outside of their home in Fatima, Portugal, a sleepy village about 70 miles north of Lisbon. Suddenly, they simultaneously had an epiphany: a luminous lady appeared before them, introduced herself as the Virgin Mary, and told them to keep returning to that spot once a month for six months to receive further celestial instructions.
Although the three pre-teen children privately agreed they should keep this bit of information to themselves, Jacinta was too excited, and promptly told everyone she could about the experience. She was met with a mixture of awe and, more often, intense skepticism. Still, word spread, and surprisingly quickly.
The three children continued their monthly pilgrimage to the same spot, and during one of these trips each claimed they collectively received a series of three visions of the future. However, the Virgin Mary had instructed them not to tell anyone the details of the revelation.
As you can probably guess, these revelations are the Fatima Prophecies.
By October, word had spread throughout Portugal of the three mystics in their midst, and on their final pilgrimage to the field, the children were accompanied by a crowd of about 70,000. Both faithful and skeptics were present, eager to either catch a glimpse of The Virgin, or confirm for themselves that it was a hoax. The children had promised the onlookers that Mary would publicly give them a Sign, vindicating them and proving their experience was real.
They got it, too.
Something happened that day, though exactly what will probably never be known. Accounts vary, but by most reports the sun suddenly began “dancing” in the sky; others claim it grew incredibly large, or even changed colors. Whether this was a bona fide miracle or some bizarre meteorological phenomena remains unknown, but even the skeptics in the crowd acknowledged that something unusual had just happened.
Understandably, the children’s fame grew worldwide, but unfortunately Francisco and Jacinta would die of influenza within two years. The sole survivor, Lucia, herself became gravely ill with pleurisy in 1943, and concern among Catholics that the secrets of Fatima would die with her prompted the Bishop of Fatima to beg her to write down the three Prophecies for posterity. At first she refused, but then she apparently had a final vision of the Virgin, who told her it was okay to transcribe the oracles. By this time Lucia had joined a convent and become a Carmelite nun. Sister Lucia, with apparently great effort, transcribed her visions, and in January 1944 turned them over, sealed, to her superiors, with the following condition: the third, final Prophecy was not to be revealed until 1960.
There is considerable debate to this day about whether Lucia intended the contents to be read to the public, or if it was for the Pope’s eyes only.
For those curious, here are the first two Prophecies...
[ostensibly a “vision of Hell” with the accompanying commentary:] You have seen Hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end, but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the reign of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given to you by God that He is about to punish the World for its crimes, by means of war, famine and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father.
When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that he is about to punish the World. To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays [of each month]. If My requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated.
saint’s quick & dirty commentary
The problems here should be obvious, but if not, I’ll spell ’em out...
Both prophecies unquestionably relate to the Second World War. Although allegedly received in 1917, they were not transcribed until 1944, when said war was well under way. Skeptics correctly critique that it is an easy enough matter to predict a war five years after it had started. Likewise the rise of Soviet Russia, which both prophecies also comment on.
Both prophecies also state that just before the outbreak of the next great war, a “great unknown light” would illuminate the sky as a sign. Fatima proponents gleefully point out that on the night of January 25, 1937 (a mere 596 days before formal declarations of war) an especially intense aurora borealis lit up the skies. Fatima skeptics question whether an aurora borealis would constitute an “unknown” light, and if a 20 month interlude fulfils the immediacy of the wording.
Perhaps the major glaring inconsistency is the specific naming of the Pope whose tenure would see the foretold war. In 1917, when Lucia had her vision, the Pope was Benedict XV. His successor, in 1922, was indeed Pius XI. Unfortunately, Pius XI died on February 10th, 1939, and it would be his successor (Pius XII) who would see World War Two start on September 3rd of that year.
Fatima faithful conveniently overlook this, and simply see the Prophecy as the miraculous vision of the Virgin naming the next Pope.
Personally, I see this as one of the best proofs that the whole thing was made up by Lucia in 1944, writing with hindsight and slightly faulty memory.
Whatever the case, the Third Fatima Prophecy remained sealed, per Lucia’s request, until 1960. That year, with much anticipation amongst the faithful laity for a public disclosure, Pope John XXIII called for his personal Confessor, and then unsealed Lucia’s envelope and read it to himself.
There are two conflicting accounts of what happened.
According to the more popular of the two, John XXIII merely commented, “This prophecy does not relate to my time.”
Per the other, the Pope literally fainted, and upon regaining consciousness, cried “The smoke of Satan has entered our Church!”
Either way, Pope John XXIII resealed the letter, and ordered it securely stashed away without publicly revealing its contents.
This is where Fatima Conspiracies begin to bubble to the surface, as intense speculation reigned over just what it said. Subsequent Popes reportedly read the Prophecy, yet none publicly revealed it.
However, in November, 1980, Pope John Paul II was in Fulda, West Germany, and was asked why the contents still remained a secret. His response was that silence was necessitated due to “the gravity of its contents,” and avoiding full disclosure was necessary to avoid provocation of “the world power of communism.” He alluded to a portion “...where it is said that the oceans will entirely flood certain parts of the earth, and that from moment to moment millions of men will perish.”
John Paul II was—indeed still is—a hardcore supporter of Fatima legitimacy. Indeed, he beatified Sister Lucia in 2001, the final step (prior to the subject’s death) for official sainthood. As of this writing, Sister Lucia is still among the living, a nun in her 90s.
On March 13, 1980—the 63rd anniversary of the first Virgin Mary visitation in Fatima—the Pope was amongst a throng of followers in Vatican City, and just after leaning over to kiss a picture of Our Lady of Fatima held by a faithful onlooker, was shot and nearly killed. The Pope lived, convinced that his survival was a Fatima miracle. Indeed, he specifically ordered the bullet that had nearly taken his life placed in a crown adorning the Virgin Mary that stands in Fatima, Portugal.
The attempted assassination again becomes relevant two decades later when, for unclear reasons, Pope John Paul II finally decided to publicly reveal the Third Fatima Prophecy to the waiting world on June 26th, 2000.
After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendor that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: "Penance, Penance, Penance!" And we saw in an immense light that is God: "something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it" a Bishop dressed in White 'we had the impression that it was the Holy Father.' Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God.
[click here for what is claimed to be a photocopy of the text, in Lucia’s handwriting]
The Catholic Church also released an accompanying commentary on this: the events described had already been fulfilled, with the attempted assassination of the Pope in 1980.
Fatima Followers immediately cried “foul!” and it’s easy to see why. The events described bear no resemblance to the events that nearly took the Pope’s life in 1980. For starters, unlike the “Bishop in White” of the vision, John Paul II survived the attempt. He was also shot once by a single marksman (Mehmet Ali Agca), not a “group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows.” The entire setting is also blatantly out of place.
One is also hard pressed to reconcile this reading with the comments the Pope made in West Germany concerning communism and a seemingly apocalyptic scenario of a flooded Earth and millions dead.
For this reason, among a number of others, a surprisingly large number of Fatima faithful claim that the revealed text is either not what Lucia wrote in 1944, or is at best a heavily edited version of it. At this point Conspiracy Theory goes into hyperdrive, especially if one takes at face value Pope John XXIII’s (alleged) comment that “the smoke of Satan has entered the Church!”
Surprisingly, one of the biggest proponents of a Catholic Church cover-up comes from a group of faithful lay Catholics themselves who are extremely devoted to the Fatima miracles. Their site, www.fatima.org, extensively details their arguments for Vatican shenanigans in the matter.
and while we’re on the subject of Celestial Prophecy...
Astrology is easily one of the oldest “sciences” still around and in use today. From the earliest cavemen who looked up at night and pondered the significance of those bright, shiny lights in the sky, a surprisingly large percentage of the population have wondered about the clusters of stars, and if they can divine some meaning out of them. Stonehenge, one of the earliest monuments still standing, is essentially a giant celestial calendar, and even the pyramids have been demonstrated to make more sense as astrological temples than as burial chambers. To my knowledge, every ancient culture practiced astrology, though their methods and interpretations differed vastly.
Street preachers seem fond of telling me, “Christianity has been around for 2,000 years, so there must be something to it.” So, with that same logic, perhaps astrology, which outdates Christianity by several millennia at least, necessitates similar scrupulous studying.
The Bible is pretty specific about the naughtiness of all forms of telling the future (other than by divinely appointed prophets): it’s wrong (Deuteronomy 18:10 etc.) and practitioners should be stoned to death (Deut. 17:2-5). I’d like to point out, then, that by this logic, any meteorologist who says “tomorrow will be partly cloudy and 82 degrees” is committing augural witchcraft and must thus be executed. Of course, the Bible says a lot of things, some I agree with, some I do not, so I will discount the aforesaid injunction for the moment and attempt to study the astrological phenomenon objectively so readers can draw their own conclusions.
Although there are different forms of astrology, the following pro/con arguments apply to all of them.
The arguments for astrological accuracy, or at least their being “something” to the phenomena, are essentially two-fold. First, per Genesis 1:14, on the Fifth Day, “God said, ‘Let their be lights in the firmament of the Heavens, and let them be for signs...’.” To that extent, one of the most curious discoveries at Qumran, Israel was a tile mosaic astrological calendar, complete with then-contemporary zodiacal constellations, and several of the Dead Sea Scrolls found in caves near-by were essentially ephemerides charting star and planet movement over a period of time. Clearly, the essenes who comprised the Qumran community were aware of the various injunctions against fortune-telling, and it must be remembered that this same group was so hardcore for The Law that they broke with the Jerusalem Temple because they didn’t think the latter was observing it strictly enough. Technically speaking, the main Deuteronomic injunction is against worshiping the stars or planets, which the essenes (as pious Jews) demonstratably did not do.
Perhaps the best explanation for essene interest in astrology can be explained thus: if we assume that God (however you wish to define that word) created the stars, then these creations must in some way reflect their Creator, so perhaps clues to the Divine Nature can be gleaned out of them.
The second ‘pro’ argument is somewhat more scientifically based. Specifically, the moon does have an affect on human personality. Several studies have shown that during full moons, birth rates and crime waves rise (slightly) above the norm. Although no one can concretely say why this is, I actually have a theory on it. One of the moon’s greatest influences on this planet are the tides, caused by gravity. The sun also has an affect on this: specific solar/lunar alignments cause especially high (ebb) tides or low (neap) ones. Given that, please remember that the human body is over 95% water. Oversimplified, I suspect lunar gravity sloshes all the brain juice around, causing somewhat abnormal behavior. So there might be something about certain heavenly bodies affecting our immediate situation.
That said, let’s look at the cons of astrology.
In its original forms (and to a lesser extent the variations practiced today) astrology based itself upon one supposition: the Earth was the center of the Universe. Even after Copernicus proved otherwise, all astrology continues to base itself from Earth and chart horoscopes exclusively for Earth. The spheres of the Zodiac signs as we know them are arbitrary and only make sense from one point in the Universe: Earth. If we were to leave Earth and go to Saturn, for example, the convenient spheres of influence calculated from Earth would be scrambled and meaningless.
Making that last matter worse, the Earth’s axis is on a very slow wobble, and the stars themselves are in motion. What the night sky looked like ten thousand years ago is not the same as what it looks like now, nor will it look the same ten thousand years in the future. In other words, the Zodiac zones are continuously changing.
Most forms of astrology also take into account only five planets, as these are all that are visible to the unaided eye. While many contemporary astrologers do take the remaining three (Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto) into consideration, most don’t, and certainly before their discovery did not because they didn’t know these extra planets even existed. If one planet is in a sign, this means one thing, but if two are in it, it means something else. Pluto was not discovered until 1930. Didn’t any astrologers before then wonder if there were at least three wild cards out there mucking up their formulas?
One of the greatest objections to horoscopes is the immense vagueness of them, in that they become self-fulfilling prophecies. To demonstrate this (and my next) point, I actually looked up my own horoscope on two different sites. Granted, the places I chose to consult are general-purpose pulp sites; “true” astrology is intensely personal and factors in things such as your time and place of birth. So rather than go to www.astrology.com and do it the hard way, I’ll just make a quick and dirty point here:
Today is a fabulous day for you, dear Cancer. Indulge in all the comforts that life affords you now. Take a break and let someone else pamper you. Share your thoughts with others. Your vacillating emotions are at a high point today and your romantic nature is especially strong. You will enjoy being in a favorable mood for the majority of the day, so let the good times roll. Pick up a musical instrument tonight or go out on the town with someone you love.
And per Excite:
What were you thinking, Cancer? Hearing gossip is inevitable in your circle, but believing and repeating it is something you can avoid. March straight to your friend or sweetheart or, depending on your offense, crawl. Before even asking to hear the real story, an apology is in order. Once you have the details sorted through, then you can make up your mind about how you feel. Until then, keep an open mind and really listen to what the other person has to say.
As you can see, these are pretty opposite on the spectrum: Yahoo says this is a good time, Excite says I phuqed up bad. Still, both are fairly vague. As for the Yahoo one, it’s 9:30 at night as I type this, and today wasn’t particularly good or bad. I did some laundry and (with the aid of my dvd player) watched Memento chronologically. No chance for romance, as FireSkunk worked most of the day and then went to a Debrah Tannen lecture (which I wouldn’t be caught dead at.) Nothing spectacular otherwise; not a great day, but not disastrous. The Excite horoscope, on the other hand, perplexes me. To my knowledge (and I thought about this) I haven’t spread gossip of any kind (except GWB and Pope jokes) in ages. Telling me to “keep an open mind and listen” insults me, as that is something I take great pains to do anyway.
However, even assuming one of them is correct, the idea that it would apply to everybody born within the one-month span I was is just simply silly. Chinese astrology is even worse in this aspect, as it lumps everyone from an entire calendar year into the same category.
That, perhaps, is my greatest objection to astrology: its tendency to arbitrarily lump vast groups of human people into categories based exclusively on their birth date. This undermines the uniqueness of each human being and trivializes the human experience to an almost absurd extent. Besides, to say that everyone born in a one month period will receive good news today but should avoid traveling is just plain dumb.
I think the best proof of this would be that, assuming astrology were true, every horoscope for September 11, 2001 should have read “unless you are a fundamentalist Islamic militant, you are going to have a really bad day today.”
Disclaimer: these whoroscopes are calculated with the assumption that you are currently on Earth. If you are not on Earth, shift up one sign per planet towards the sun, down one sign per planet away from the sun. Void where prohibited, except in Nebraska.
Overall Observation: the moon is acting weird this time of year, and every chart seems to indicate intense lycanthropic activity during the full moon, though the nature of such activity varies sign to sign. See specific entries.
Aries (Mar 21-Apr 19) Mars squared to Venus makes it a given that at the next social gathering you attend, your current and an ex girlfriend will meet and spend the evening on a sofa, laughing and pointing at you. A new Virgo neighbor will move in next door, and while he’ll seem nice, he’s only there because of the Witness Protection & Relocation program—and he hasn’t given up “the life.” During the next full moon, you will be attacked by a wereplatypus.
Taurus (Apr 20-May 20) As Mars goes into retrograde in your 3rd House, a beloved pet will become possessed by the ghost of Che Guevara. Solar activity at the end of the month will cause your Capricorn hairdresser to have a falling out with Raoul, his significant other, and he will take his frustration out on your new ’doo. On the bright side, all traffic lights will turn yellow just when you reach them. During the next full moon, you will be attacked by a werelobster.
Gemini (May 21-Jun 20) Neptune prominent in your 4th House strongly suggests that a typo in an NSA computer will cause no end of trouble. Another Gemini you inadvertently offended will put you on multiple mailing lists, including ‘free condoms by mail.’ Fortunately, Neptune will enter your sign at the end of the month, making you Kareoke God. During the next full moon, you will be attacked by a wereporcupine.
Cancer (Jun 21-Jul 22) Jupiter rising makes this an intense time for any water sign, but especially for you. While at the beach, clambassidors from Atlantis will offer you the secret to making the perfect omelet, and you will sit on a squid. Expect to experience intense fits of glossalalia while taking showers, and a case of Milwaukee’s Best will mysteriously appear in your refrigerator. During the next full moon, you will be attacked by a werewombat.
Leo (Jul 23-Aug 22) A stationary Pluto in your sign is ambiguous at best, so I’ll candy-coat this for you. First, the good news: while the lab will have no idea what the biopsy results are, the condition will be named after you. Also, that threesome with the two Aquariuses at work is looking promising, if not a done deal. Unfortunately, your wife already asked Evil Matt, so by the time you read this the jig is up, and you will find the ashes of all your possessions on your front lawn when you get home tonight. During the next full moon, you will be attacked by a wereanteater.
Virgo (Aug 23-Sep 22) A Stationary Saturn in your 5th house makes it a sure bet that you will get a restraining order within a week, probably from a member of the Chicago Cubs. You will smell like Pine Sol for a week, and be prone to say “pumpkin!” at random intervals. During the next full moon, you will be attacked by a werewalrus.
Libra (Sep 23-Oct 22) When Mercury goes into retrograde next week, you will notice an uncanny resemblance between your life and certain tv reruns, especially ‘Everyone Loves Raymond.’ If you are in counseling, your shrink will find evidence of repressed memory syndrome: either satanic abuse, incest, or UFO abduction, depending on your councelor’s preference. During daylight hours you will be unable to balance your checkbook. On the next full moon, you will be attacked by a werepenguin.
Scorpio (Oct 23-Nov 21) Venus in opposition to Jupiter denotes a false sense of security; don’t believe it. A Capricorn at work has it out for you, and is just biding her time. At this very moment, a speed trap is being set up at the end of your block, too. Thieves posing as evangelizing Jehovah’s Witnesses will case your house; trust me and reset the .38 by your bedstand: hammer back, safety off. During the next full moon, you will be attacked by a wereotter.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec 21) A Stationary Saturn in your sign denotes a rut you won’t work yourself out of for several weeks. You will keep hearing the same songs on the radio, and everything will taste like chicken. This doldrum will only end next month, when Venus leaves your 7th house and your ex girlfriend will mysteriously get your unlisted phone number. During the next full moon, you will be attacked by a werewarthog.
Capricorn (Dec 22-Jan 19) Neptune in your 1st House and Mars in your 9th can only mean unbearable fits of narcissism. You will hang mirrors everywhere, and call out your own name during sex. The situation will become unbearable in a few weeks when you take some type of test and the results screw up in your favor. Fortunately, a Cancer will bring you back to reality with a humiliating defeat at Monopoly. During the next full moon, you will be attacked by a weretortoise.
Aquarius (Jan 20-Feb 18) Jupiter in opposition to Neptune makes this the perfect time to bet on miniature golf—as long as you don’t bet on yourself. Until Jupiter moves on, you will mistakenly believe that you suffer amnesia as to where you have parked your car. Don’t believe it: an Aries is driving it around while you’re away. You will eat a delicious cheese in the next two days. During the next full moon, you will be attacked by a werechihuaua.
Pisces (Feb 19-Mar 20) Mercury will bookend your houses over the next month, causing massive mood swings based on a love/hate relationship with ’70s nostalgia. Your attention span will diminish to the length of a commercial, and your mouse pad will mysteriously change color. Word to the wise: clean your aquarium immediately: I can smell that shit all the way out here! During the next full moon, you will be attacked by a werefrog.
Today’s Birthday: No point in making a chart for you: all your friends will buy you birthday shots, and since you didn’t eat yet, you’ll pass out in an hour. Plan ahead and keep some extra-strength Tylenol on your night stand—boy, you’re gonna need it... During the next full moon, you will be attacked by a werecamel.
Ask Evil Matt
The Evil One fields your queries, as channeled by Sister Ob’dewlla ‘X’.
Q: What is the last word in the English Language?
A: Depends how you look at it. Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary lists “ZZZ” as the last (as in the onomatopoeia for snoring,) but I do not believe that counts. Disregarding that, there is the “Z-zero particle”, defined as “one of three particles, called intermediate vector bosons, that are believed to transmit the weak force.” Science aside, there is a language called “Zyrian” (which is to Finnish what Creole is to French.) However, that’s still a bit “iffy,” especially since you specified “English language.” Of course, English is a polyglot, so the majority of words in its vocabulary are loan words from other languages. That said, “Zymurgy” is “the branch of applied chemistry dealing with fermentation, as in winemaking, brewing, the preparation of yeast, etc.” Good enough?
Q: What animal is the most endangered species on earth? which plant? which fish? and, most importantly, what is the most endangered living organism? I think it is the giant panda, but it could be some exotic flower in the amazon for all I know. I have searched the WWF database, and unfortunately they have only composed a archive that lists all species alphabetically without actually listing a "Top Ten" list for example. Be sure to include a detailed bibliography and works cited page, with links to the appropriate (credible) web pages that can be accessed for verification.
A: This is a tricky one, for a couple of reasons. According to the World Wildlife Foundation, the Black Rhinoceros (Diceros Bicornus) is the most endangered animal (there are less than 3,000), with your giant panda a close second. However, as for overall most endangered organism, I don’t think this can be answered for a very simple reason. According to the International Wildlife Coalition, the extinction rate is about 40,000 species a year (roughly one every fifteen minutes!) I can only hope that’s a high estimate, and even if it is, the extinction issue itself still causes a problem here, because whatever is “the most endangered” changes every fifteen minutes when that species’ luck runs out for good. For what it’s worth, though, I’ll give you my guess: the most endangered organism in the world is the smallpox virus. It is believed to be completely extinct in the “wilderness” as of 1980, and only exists in a few laboratory cultures. That we know of, anyway...
Q: also, what was the name of that guitarist we were talking about at the Vine while we were playing pool the other night that influenced Dave Mustaine? I think it was italian or something.
A: Joe Satriani. He actually didn’t influence Mustaine, but Steve Vai and Kirk Hammett used to take extensive lessons from him (probably still do) at $400 an hour, from what I last knew ca. 1990. I haven’t listened to “Satch” (as he’s affectionately known) since around ’89 or so. However, unlike his two aforementioned protégés, Satch is actually pretty good: fast, fluid, and an ear for what’s tasty. Actually, I shouldn’t knock Vai or Hammett too much: I can’t play most of their solos, but then again, I wouldn’t want to, either... The only person who ever put Vai’s flash to good use was Frank Zappa, who appropriately labeled it “Stunt Guitar.” But I digress. For some good Satch, check out “Surfing with the Alien.”
Q: Is my husband cheating on me?
A: Yes. He has had an ongoing affair with your sister, plus sporadic flings with the morning manager at the corner Dunkin Donuts. Most recently he hooked up with two Aquariuses at work.
A: Yes, but they are not native. The Hilton Hawaiian Village on Oahu imported several as a tourist attraction. They don’t seem to mind the climate change, and are actually flourishing.
Got a question? .
The Hedgehog Corner
By Harriet the Hedgehog
Holy Hedgehogs, Part II
Continuing last issue’s survey of Hedgehogs in Sacred Texts, we again turn to Zoroastrianism, this time to “Shayest Na-Shayest” (essentially, “Proper and Improper”), Chapter 12, Verse 20...
The rule is this, that when one sees a hedgehog he takes it back to the plain, and its own place is to be preserved free from danger; for in the Vendidad the high-priests have taught, that every day, when the hedgehog voids urine into an ant's nest, a thousand ants will die.
Like I said last time: “Back off man, we’re holy!”
In a “related” digression, I would like to take time to congratulate my cousin, Henrí the Hedgehog, for his acting debut. [1.5 Mgb]
Trust no one
and Always keep your lighter handy!
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