Sunday, June 26, 2022
Saturday, June 25, 2022
Thursday, June 23, 2022
I struggled with some demons, they were middle-class and tameI didn't know I had permission to murder and to maim
And Cain said: Truly I am Mahan, the master of this great secret, that I may murder and get gain. . . . And Cain gloried in that which he had done, saying: I am free.
It's like giving a very young child rules to follow -- but the only punishment for violating them is that the child will be written out of his parents' will if he breaks any of the rules -- unless, of course, he sincerely apologizes at any point before his parents' death. Nothing is done at the time of the violation, not even an angry reprimand and a reminder of the standing threat of disinheritance. This is obviously not an effective way of enforcing one's demands, not the method that would be chosen by anyone with any understanding of human nature.
A: Why does God give us "commandments" but fail to enforce them, instead allowing us to do whatever we want, no matter how terrible?B: Because human free will must be preserved. We must be allowed to choose good or evil without coercion.A: But one of the things God allows us to do is to enslave and coerce others. Why would he allow that if preserving free will is so important?B: True free will -- which is metaphysical, not practical -- lies in the realm of thought, not action, and cannot be taken away by coercion. Physical actions may be restricted or coerced, but the mind remains free. Paul taught that even a slave is free in the sense that matters to God -- spiritually free, free to align himself with Christ or with Satan.A: But that means God could after all enforce his commandments, and prevent us from doing terrible things, without infringing on our free will -- which brings us right back to our original question.
[Mormon theology] also makes the things the individual goes through in this life [meaningful] because there's a post-mortal state. Basically, you "keep going" and doing other stuff in a way that isn't just entering a static afterlife. It obviously totally changes the story. I found this interesting because it would mean there really are ways that suffering in this life could be necessary, for you to learn something or something like that. In general, in our classical situation, it's much harder to appeal to this explanation cohesively. . . . [If] we're all going to Heaven, it's more difficult to imagine how extra suffering here will help you there because you're in Heaven. . . . Heaven not being static but being a full-on post-mortal existence where you do things makes lessons learned here applicable.
Tuesday, June 21, 2022
Monday, June 20, 2022
[I]n November, 1582, while on his knees and fervently praying, he became aware of a sudden glory which filled the west window of his laboratory, and in whose midst shone the bright angel Uriel. It was impossible for Dee to speak. His tongue was frozen with awe. But Uriel smiled benignly upon him, gave him a convex piece of crystal, and told him that when he wished to communicate with the beings of another world he had but to examine it intently, and they would immediately appear and reveal the mysteries of the future. Then the angel vanished.
[O]n the evening of the above-mentioned twenty-first of September, after I had retired to my bed for the night, I betook myself to prayer and supplication to Almighty God for forgiveness of all my sins and follies, and also for a manifestation to me, that I might know of my state and standing before him; for I had full confidence in obtaining a divine manifestation, as I previously had one.While I was thus in the act of calling upon God, I discovered a light appearing in my room, which continued to increase until the room was lighter than at noonday, when immediately a personage appeared at my bedside, standing in the air, for his feet did not touch the floor. . . . Not only was his robe exceedingly white, but his whole person was glorious beyond description, and his countenance truly like lightning. The room was exceedingly light, but not so very bright as immediately around his person. When I first looked upon him, I was afraid; but the fear soon left me.He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Moroni; that God had a work for me to do . . . . He said there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang. He also said that the fulness of the everlasting Gospel was contained in it, as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants;Also, that there were two stones in silver bows—and these stones, fastened to a breastplate, constituted what is called the Urim and Thummim—deposited with the plates; and the possession and use of these stones were what constituted “seers” in ancient or former times; and that God had prepared them for the purpose of translating the book.
Sunday, June 19, 2022
“And perhaps at this very moment there is a storm above, and ships over our heads are being rudely tossed by the tempest.”“Quite probable.”“And whales are lashing the roof of our prison with their tails?”
Saturday, June 18, 2022
Friday, June 17, 2022
Thursday, June 16, 2022
Yesterday, June 14, I was browsing Synlogos and noticed a link to a post by Roosh Valizadeh -- "13 Tips for Reading Books" or something. I didn't read the post, but for some reason seeing it made me think, "Hey, I wonder how old Roosh is." I don't know why that came to mind. I don't know exactly how old most bloggers I read are, and I've never felt the need to find out. But in this case I just suddenly wanted to know, so I looked it up.
He was born on June 14, 1979 -- so it was on his birthday that I had this sudden urge to look up his date of birth.
Possibly this was something I already subconsciously knew. His "About Roosh" page, which I think I must have read before (I recognize the photo with the striped shirt and the little black dog) says "My birthday is on Flag Day, a national holiday, which I share with Donald Trump." I definitely know Trump's birthday, and that it is Flag Day (and also my sister Kat's birthday), since I've mentioned that fact several times on The Magician's Table, so that should have served to make Roosh's birthday particularly memorable. Perhaps when I happened to see his name on June 14, I was nudged by a not-quite-conscious memory, and that is what made me wonder about his age.
Today, when I wanted to write a post noting this sync or crypto-memory or whatever, I found that I couldn't remember who it was whose June 14 birthday I looked up on June 14. My first thought was that it had been Amber Heard, of all people! I spent quite some time scrolling in vain through lists of famous people born on June 14 before I suddenly remembered.
Appropriately, given these memory lapses, June 14 also turns out to be the birthday of Alois Alzheimer.
Wednesday, June 15, 2022
Tuesday, June 14, 2022
Monday, June 13, 2022
On March 31 of this year, I observed that "I posted my many-eyed whale dream on the 430th anniversary of Dee and Kelley's many-eyed whale vision."
Today, I was reading Richard Deacon's John Dee, the chapter entitled "Dee and the Spanish Armada." This led me to look up the date of the Armada's defeat, and the first result was this:
Of course it wasn't 430 years ago today; it was 430 years ago on August 8, 2018, when that article was posted. Still, it was the very first search result that came up, and going from John Dee to a 430th anniversary seems like a noteworthy coincidence.
Note added: In my previous post, "Another link between John Dee and DeForest Kelley," I noted that someone (or two people) called Edward Fenton edited The Diaries of John Dee and wrote a children's book called The Big Yellow Balloon. If you look up "Edward Fenton" on Wikipedia, you find that
Edward Fenton (died 1603) was an English navigator, son of Henry Fenton and Cicely Beaumont and brother of Sir Geoffrey Fenton. He was also a publisher of diaries and journals. . . . In 1577 he sailed, in command of the Gabriel. . . . In 1588 he had command of the Mary Rose, one of the ships of the fleet that was formed to oppose the Spanish Armada.
The Diaries of John Dee is copyright 1998 by Edward Fenton, so this is obviously not the same person, but he, too, was "a publisher of diaries and journals." He commanded the Gabriel -- named after one of the angels with whom Dee and Kelley supposedly conversed -- and then was involved in fighting the Spanish Armada in 1588.
In my recent post "Dee, Kelley, and Dee Kelley," I related how a sync with the number 333 in connection with John Dee and Edward Kelley led me to the 1960 TV pilot "333 Montgomery," starring DeForest "Dee" Kelley, later of Star Trek fame. I linked to a post by Dee Kelley's friend and former personal assistant Kristine M. Smith (now a "man" called "Kris" Smith, because you know everyone's gotta be trans these days) called "333 = DeForest Kelley Visitations!" -- about how the actor apparently used that number as a sign to communicate with her from beyond the grave.
Smith has published numerous books about her relationship with DeForest Kelley. Her website is called Yellow Balloon Publications. She uses this name because a yellow balloon is another of the signs apparently used by the deceased Kelley to communicate with her. Kelley had written a poem called "The Yellow Balloon" shortly before his death and asked her to fax it to William Shatner. There were lots of problems with the fax machine, and it took over an hour to send it. "When it finally went," she writes, "I knew I would never, ever forget De’s *%!#@*! Yellow Balloon poem!" She continues:
Just days after De passed away, I asked for some kind of divine “sign” to let me know that he was okay now. The very next morning as I was driving the 405 freeway to Woodland Hills to sit with [Kelley's widow] Carolyn at the hospital, a free-floating yellow balloon passed directly over the freeway ahead of me about thirty or forty feet in the sky! My mouth flew open. I started crying right then and there! Only an Enterprise fly-by could have been more convincing (although that would have been delusional). I had my sign!
She goes on to relate several more "yellow balloon" events.
Okay, so DeForest Kelley is linked, by his name and by his use of the number 333, to John Dee and Edward Kelley; and he apparently uses a yellow balloon as a personal symbol. Now look at this:
Friday, June 10, 2022
I want to raise my freak flagHigher and higher andI want to raise my freak flagAnd never be aloneNever be alone
Thursday, June 9, 2022
- Post-It noting scripture
- God and things being how they are
- Jesus and Jehovah
- God and time
- God and theoretical people
- Theodicy stalemate
- Insomnia file: Mormonism
- Joseph Smith and theodicy
- Joseph Smith and the mind-body problem
- Joseph Smith and ecclesial confusion
- Alleged acient American Christian treasure and Himalayan wizards
- Spiritual intuition regarding sex, love, marriage, and family
Wednesday, June 8, 2022
Tuesday, June 7, 2022
Sunday, June 5, 2022
Saturday, June 4, 2022
Burke and MacKay describe a person who blocked on the name of the California city Ojai (pronounced “oh-hi”), and muttered in frustration, “Oh hell.” This similar-sounding expression immediately triggered recall of the word.
Friday, June 3, 2022
I randomly decided to watch a couple of episodes [of 1960s TV drama Sam Benedict] last night. While watching the show, my eyes were drawn to a scene in which Sam Benedict's office building was shown. The office building’s address was 333.
(The sheet, incidentally, is stained too, with three drops of old, faded redness. As the Quran tells us: Recite, in the name of the Lord thy Creator, who created Man from clots of blood.)One Kashmiri morning in the early spring of 1915, my grandfather Aadam Aziz hit his nose against a frost-hardened tussock of earth while attempting to pray. Three drops of blood plopped out of his left nostril, hardened instantly in the brittle air and lay before his eyes on the prayer-mat, transformed into rubies.
Numbers are my friends and they are always around me. Each one is unique and has its own personality. Eleven is friendly and five is loud, whereas four is both shy and quiet -- it's my favourite number, perhaps because it reminds me of myself. Some are big -- 23, 667, 1179 -- while others are small: 6, 13, 581. Some are beautiful, like 333, and some are ugly, like 289. To me, every number is special.
Thursday, June 2, 2022
Choronzon in the minds of Dee and Kelley was little more than a symbol of destruction such as Bunyan conjured up in Pilgrim's Progress, a purely allegorical figure. Neither Dee nor Kelley made any attempts to exorcise or propitiate this mythical monster. Crowley, however, performed a "banishing ritual" and claimed to see a demon who changed into an old man and then into a snake. The demon insisted that his name was "333", wailing that "the tenth Aethyr is the world of adjectives and there is no substance therein" and threatened Crowley and Neuberg with the tortures it could inflict.
There is a curious note in Dee's manuscripts about this time which poses the rather strange equation of "30 plus M = Bess plus 333. Speke to W." . . . "30", we know, was a code for the son of Mary, Queen of Scots, and Dee was certainly privy to this code. "30 plus M" could mean James and his mother, Mary. But what of "Bess plus 333"? . . .Could Crowley provide an answer here? Was this his "333" sign of Choronzon or Chaos . . . ? Dee used numerical signs for his spiritual creatures, whether angelic or diabolical, and "333" may well have been one of them. . . . Whichever way one looks at the cryptic comment it is certain that "333" was a code and that this was a note on Intelligence matters.
🎥 #Azov neo-Nazis that were trapped in #Azovstal plant in #Mariupol established their identities & are asked to show off their Nazi tattoos 😳— Lety Tejada (@LetysNakedTruth) May 22, 2022
but I thought Nazis in #Ukraine was just #Russia propaganda 🤔 #UkraineRussianWar pic.twitter.com/Oyq05mOmDa
Tuesday, May 31, 2022
Monday, May 30, 2022
Christians have burnt each other, quite persuadedThat all the Apostles would have done as they did.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, and say, "If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets" (Matt. 23:29-30).
Every man gives his life for what he believes. Every woman gives her life for what she believes. Some believe in little or nothing, and so they give their lives for that little or nothing. One life is all we have. We live it as we believe in living it, and it is gone.
My sins were ghastly, but the InfiniteGoodness has arms so wide that It acceptswho ever would return, imploring It.. . .Despite the Church’s curse, there is no oneso lost that the eternal love cannotreturn — as long as hope shows something green.
Sunday, May 29, 2022
The CJCLDS Newsroom reports that on May 26, Elder David A. Bednar "provided an overview of the mission and work of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" to the National Press Club.
Here are the section headings of the summary published by the Church:
- Humanitarian Aid and Welfare
- Race Relations
- The LGBTQ Community
- The Washington D.C. Temple
There you have it: an overview of the mission and work of the Nelson-era CJCLDS.
Saturday, May 28, 2022
four-a-cat n. See four old cat
four old cat n. three old cat played with four batters
three old cat n. See three-a-cat
three-a-cat n. two-a-cat played with three bases and three batters
Okay, great! Now if we can just find out what two-a-cat is . . .
two-a-cat n. See two old cat
Are we stupid enough to keep falling for this trick? We are.
two old cat n. one old cat played with two batters
We're down to one! Now we're finally going to get the definition, right?
one old cat n. See one-a-cat
And if you look up that, you finally discover -- eight definitions later! -- that all these games were precursors to modern baseball. But the definitions of these various games remind me of a different American sport.
Friday, May 27, 2022
After a long period of inactivity, Richard Arrowsmith of Black Dog Star has recently started posting again. Last night I checked to see if he had posted anything new. He hadn't, but while I was there I clicked on a link in his most recent (May 18) post to his old 2009 post "Keeping Track of the Cat." One of the things he mentions in that post is the connection between cat and caterpillar -- in, for example, the two forms of the logo of Caterpillar Inc.
That was last night. This morning, my wife was feeding the cats some sort of treats, and all the cats were gathered around her. She said (in Chinese), "What a lot of caterpillars! I call them caterpillars, you know." The Chinese for "caterpillar" is 毛毛蟲 (máomaochóng, "furry bug"), which is unrelated to 貓 (māo, "cat").
Not until I wrote the above did I notice that, in Roman transliteration, "cat" (māo) is the first syllable of "caterpillar" (máomaochóng) in Chinese just as it is in English. It only appears that way in transliteration, though; in fact, the tone is different, and therefore the two syllables sound entirely different to Chinese ears; it would never occur to a Chinese speaker to connect the two words. Puns on otherwise similar words which have different tones are quite uncommon in Chinese. There's the well-known superstitious connection between 四 (sì, "four") and 死 (sǐ, "death"), but otherwise, tone-deaf puns are pretty much limited to jokes about tone-deaf foreigners, like the one about the American who got slapped by the dumpling shop owner when he tried to say, "How much for a bowl of dumplings?" but got the tones wrong and said, "How much to sleep with you for the night?" It's like s/th puns in English, which are also largely limited to jokes about foreign accents -- like when an American sea captain radioed the German coast guard and said, "We are sinking! We are sinking!" only to receive the reply, "Vat are you sinking about?"
Writing the above paragraph -- in which I mentioned puns, the number four, and the words cat and sink -- made me think of the story my mother taught me when I was very young and learning to count in French: "There once was a cat called Undeutrois Cat. One day Undeutrois Cat saw some fish swimming, and he wanted to swim, too. But when Undeutrois Cat jumped into the water, Undeutrois Cat sank!" (un deux trois quatre cinq).
(Googling this, I find it is more often presented as a joke in which a French cat named Un Deux Trois loses a swimming race with an English cat named One Two Three. I learned it as a mnemonic story, not a joke.)
The story involves a pun on cat and quatre, "four." Last October, with no thought of Undeutrois Cat, I made a pun on caterpillars and quatre piliers, "four pillars" (the pun being that pavilion is similar to papillon, "butterfly").
Looking up caterpillar in an etymology dictionary, I find that the similarity to cat is not a coincidence.
"larva of a butterfly or moth," mid-15c., catyrpel, probably altered (by association with Middle English piller "plunderer;" see pillage (n.)) from Old North French caterpilose "caterpillar" (Old French chatepelose), literally "shaggy cat" (probably in reference to the "wooly-bear" variety), from Late Latin catta pilosa, from catta "cat" (see cat (n.)) + pilosus "hairy, shaggy, covered with hair," from pilus "hair" (see pile (n.3)).
So the pillar element in caterpillar ultimately derives from the Latin for "hair." This is a link back to my November 2020 post "Hair and pillars, and pills."
Tuesday, May 24, 2022
On October 6, 2021, exactly as I had predicted in August, the number of peck-attributed deaths in Taiwan overtook the number of birdemic-attributed deaths. A month later, I predicted that by Chinese New Year 2022, the pecks would have killed twice as many Taiwanese people as the birdemic.
That second prediction didn't pan out. Instead, we're seeing a "second wave" of birdemic-attributed deaths, while peck-attributed deaths have slowed to a trickle, so now the two a pretty much neck-and-neck. As of yesterday, the birdemic-attributed death toll was 1,436. Peck-attributed deaths are no longer reported anywhere near as regularly as they used to be, but on May 17 the total peck-attributed death toll was 1,477.
Curious as to what had changed, I looked up the relevant statistics and plotted the number of reported deaths per million doses for each of the pecks for two different periods: up to January 17, and from January 18 to May 17. It turns out peck lethality has changed a lot. Overall, peck lethality is about half what it used to be -- 14 deaths per million doses, down from 30.
The first thing to notice is that AZ pecks -- the deadliest of the lot, 28% of all doses but responsible for 57% of peck-attributed deaths to date -- have been quietly discontinued. (There were 28 new AZ deaths from January 18 to May 17, but no way to calculate deaths per million doses without dividing by zero.) I didn't know this until I looked up the data to make this chart. It was never announced. I guess they didn't want to admit, after administering 16 million doses to the trusting citizenry and killing more than 800 of them, that they'd made a mistake. They did discontinue it, though, suggesting they've developed some capacity, however limited, for learning from experience.
Eliminating AZ from the mix is only part of the story, though. Every one of the other peck brands has seen a dramatic change in lethality. Mod is killing half as many people as it used to, and Med just a third. What's going on? I can think of a few possibilities.
1. The first dose is the riskiest. If you survived the first dose, you're likely to survive additional doses of the same thing. By January 17, 81% of the population had already received a first dose, so most of the doses since that time have been second or additional doses.
2. The number of "cases" (positive test results) is much higher than it used to be. Before January 17, about 18,000 people had tested positive. From January 18 to May 17, there were 896,000 positive tests. This is partly because more people are being tested and partly because the definition of "case" has changed. Before, a positive antigen test had to be confirmed by a positive PCR test before it could be considered a "case"; starting this month, though, all positive DIY antigen tests are counted as "cases." People who die of peck side effects after testing positive for the birdemic are presumably counted as birdemic deaths, not peck deaths.
3. The pecks themselves could have changed. I mean, why wouldn't they? Quietly replacing most of the doses with normal saline would seem to be the best way of minimizing deaths without admitting anything.
Then there's the question of the Pfi pecks, which show the opposite trend. While the other brands have dramatically decreased in lethality, Pfi is now more than twice as deadly as it used to be. No idea what to make of that.
This is one of the most seamless mashups I've ever heard.
Following up on the idea that the pecked are no longer alone in their bodies , reader Ben Pratt has brought to my attention these remarks by...
Artflow is an AI that creates portraits from text descriptions, and I thought it would be interesting to see how it depicted men and women ...
I hadn't made this obvious connection until I watched this video by Jonathan Pageau, in which he gives an extremely insightful analysis ...