Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Review of Jonathan W. Tooker's Time Travel Interpretation of the Bible

I recently read Jonathan W. Tooker's 2001 book The Time Travel Interpretation of the Bible, which is available as a free pdf at the link. I do not in the end find it at all convincing, but it certainly was a stimulating thought experiment.

God as the time traveler with the last word

Tooker begins with the assumption that at some time in the future time-travel technology will be developed, at which point a variety of people with a variety of motives will go back into the past to attempt to rewrite history, with changes undoing and overwriting other changes again and again indefinitely. Therefore,

The real course of immutable history which we all share, then, must be the limit of an infinite number of changes. The history that we all share is the final word once all the time travel work has been done. Since there will always have been a finite number of human generations following the construction of the first time machine, and since the men of each generation will work only a finite number of shifts [as time travelers] during their lives, humans will never be able to write the last of an infinite number of changes. If the last word cannot be had by any mortal, then it must be had by some supernatural entity. . . . Here, we seat God on the throne of his eternal glory at timelike infinity [in Minkowski space], the end of time, a place that no mortal can ever reach.

It is not spelled out why no time-traveling mortal can ever reach timelike infinity, especially since time travel is generally conceptualized as "teleporting" from one time to another without any need to pass through the interval (finite or infinite) between them. Anyway, it is assumed that no one can. But them, confusingly, Tooker goes on to posit that the God of Abraham is actually a flesh-and-blood man from the future, possibly even the inventor of the first time machine. How then did he reach timelike infinity, which ex hypothesi no man can do? Tooker attempts to deal with this by invoking his version of the Trinity:

In the preceding sections, we have made the point to put God in the seat at timelike infinity but now we will seat the Holy Spirit there to assign God as a human man. Jesus is God as a younger man before he completes the mission of the Messiah. God is Jesus as an older man after the harvest has come and he has affected the final defeat of Satan . . . .

Note that this does not mean that the man born as Jesus grew up to be God. Rather, God is assumed to be born in the post-Einsteinian future (since he must have access to a time machine), and Jesus is one of this future man's relatively early ("as a younger man") ventures back into the past. Jesus as such is assumed not to have been born at all (as hinted at in some of the Gospels; like me, Tooker gives priority to the Fourth Gospel, but does so because it says nothing about the birth of Jesus).

Among all the changes enacted by all the [time-traveling] agents, after all the generations of mankind have come and gone, whose intention for what history ought to have been will dominate at infinity? We propose that the intentions of the man God are those which survive until the end. For this reason, the Holy Spirit is called by God's name. When all was said and done, it was his intention which survived to infinity. As the winner of the time travel war, God is the greatest and winningest warrior of all time. This is the nature of the trinity: God as a younger man fighting for victory, God himself having attained absolute dominion, and God's intention: three parts of a whole.

As best I can make out, this means that God is not enthroned at timelike infinity, and that the "Holy Spirit" that is said to be enthroned there is only a figure of speech -- not an explanation of why God has the last word in the editing of the past, but a metaphorical way of expressing the fact that he does have the last word.

Why, then, does God have the last word? This is a rather important question since, in Tooker's model, having the last word is what makes God God. The answer seems to be simply that God is good, that evil inherently leads to destruction, and that therefore only God's intention leads to eternal life.

If there comes a day when the last human dies, then life will not have been eternal. . . . Beyond that day, there would never again be someone using a time machine. Some human would have had the last word about what history was. There would be no future generations through which God's intention might propagate all the way to infinity. To the contrary, if extinction never comes, then the limit at infinity which we have associated with the Spirit of God is generated . . . . The Sovereign Lord is separated from false gods [i.e., rival human time travelers] because the timeline passing through God's ultimate victory in his Messianic mission is the only timeline that does not lead to extinction. . . . The road that leads to death is broad but the road that leads to life is narrow. All futures apart from God are doomed.

No real metaphysical reason is given for this. God is just some guy, and his way just happens to be the only way to "eternal life" -- meaning, apparently, the temporally infinite continuation of the human species and time-travel technology, not personal immortality. (Personal immortality apparently consists in being taken out of the time stream altogether, into the "elsewhere" regions of Minkowski space.) I don't know why we would assume there would be exactly one way to attain this; many ways or no way seems more likely. Actually, I'm not  clear on how "a day when the last human dies" could even be an issue in a world with time travel, since pre-extinction human could travel into the post-extinction future and restart the species. Nor do I know why we need to assume that our species does in fact survive indefinitely, approaching a limit at timelike infinity, rather than some human having the last word. None of this is clear to me, and I don't think the problem is entirely my own.

Anyway, this is the model you have to entertain in order to proceed with the rest of Tooker's thesis.

The water/earth/heaven metaphor, and miracles

Tooker proposes that in the Bible, "water" is often used as a metaphor for the past; "earth," for the present; and "heaven," for the future -- with God being the "Most High" because he (or, rather his intentions, reified as the Holy Spirit) is located in the "highest heaven," which is timelike infinity. When Satan is cast down from heaven to earth, for instance, this is taken to mean that his time-travel privileges are revoked and he is confined to his own "present." (Satan, too, is a time-traveling mortal man, as we shall see below.)

Tooker is generally reluctant to countenance any sort of "magic" or miracles beyond those that involve manipulating time through a technology to be developed in the future. Events such as the Flood of Noah and the parting of the Red Sea are reconceptualized on the assumption that "water" and "dry land" are references to the time stream. Since it is obviously impossible for the whole earth to be submerged under physical water, the Flood is understood to be God undoing his creation by going back in time and altering the past that led to it, and the ark is some sort of temporal "bubble" (whatever that would be) which is unaffected by this. It is within this framework that Tooker understands God's promise after the Flood:

I will not again . . . smite any more every thing living, as I have done. While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease (Gen. 8:21-22).

As Tooker points out, a flood of water has nothing to do with the progression of summer and winter, day and night -- but meddling with the fabric of spacetime does. God is promising never again to play fast and loose with the timeline to the extent that he did in this metaphorical "flood."

Smaller scale temporal editing is still permitted, though, and the passage through the Red Sea on "dry ground" (another temporal bubble) is understood in this way. God's "jamming" the Egyptians' chariot wheels (as many translations give Ex. 14:25) is also understood to be a temporal effect.

Although no water metaphor is used, the extension of Hezekiah's life (Isa. 38) is understood as a small-scale manipulation of time. Time is rewound a bit, which is why the shadow on the sundial goes back 10 degrees, so that Hezekiah can be placed on a timeline in which he lives 15 years longer than he would otherwise have done. Apparently a minor adjustment like this is not considered to be a violation of the promise to Noah since it is not enough to disrupt the cycle of day and night or the seasons.

Israel as Satan

I have noted before some of the similarities between the biblical figure Jacob, a.k.a. Israel, and the serpent of Eden. Jacob means "he seizes the heel," a name he was given because "he took his brother by the heel in the womb" (Hos. 12:3). To the serpent, God says, "Thou shalt bruise his heel” (Gen. 3:15). The serpent deceives Adam, and Jacob deceives Edom (basically the same name in Hebrew). Jacob is even described as being physically serpent-like -- a smooth-skinned man in contrast to his hairy brother -- and the account of his life in Genesis is just one deception after another. Even the name God gives him, Israel, means "he contends with God."

Why, then is Israel God's chosen? Tooker makes the rather shocking proposal that Israel is literally Satan. Satan, like God, is a time-traveling human being, and the specific human being he is, is Jacob the son of Isaac. But Israel and his descendants are nevertheless "chosen" for special protection because they are the ancestors of the man God himself, and he cannot therefore destroy them without destroying both himself and the one true timeline that leads humanity all the way to timelike infinity. Although a large part of the Bible consists of diatribes against the wicked Israelites, God is forced to continue protecting and helping them. This is the meaning of the parable of the wheat and the tares (Matt. 13): the tares (Israelites) cannot be destroyed yet without destroying the wheat (future Messiah, who becomes "God") with them. Once the Messiah has been born, though, the long-awaited time for burning up the tares will have arrived. Yes, I realize that this is, like, super anti-Semitic.

According to Tooker, Israel is explicitly identified as Satan in the Bible, but you'll only pick up on it if you compare two different verses. We are told that "Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel" (2 Chron 21:1). But we are also told, "And again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah" (2 Sam. 24:1). Tooker maintains that the "he" in 2 Samuel cannot refer to the Lord, since 2 Chronicles says Satan moved David to number Israel, and that therefore the only possible antecedent is "Israel." Tooker's reading is, "And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel [the person, Jacob], and he [Israel/Jacob] moved David against them [Israel, the nation]."  Compare that with Chronicles, and you find that Israel must Satan, because that's who moved David to number the people. I think it's a ridiculous reading, which relies on the same noun being the antecedent of both "he" and "them," but that's all he's got.

Surprisingly, despite saying he prioritizes the Gospel of John, and despite his belief that "children of Israel" is literally synonymous with "children of Satan," Tooker does not mention the episode in John 8 where Jesus calls the Jews children of the devil while at the same time conceding that they are also children of Abraham. Those who do not interpret the whole thing metaphorically tend to arrive at some version of the Fake Jew Thesis -- that the "Jews" of Jesus' time were not really Israelites at all but Edomite conversos or some such. Tooker's interpretation would be that they were children of the devil precisely because they were Israelites -- and that Jesus himself was just as much a (genealogical if not spiritual) child of the devil as they were. Both Jesus and the Pharisees were descendants both of the righteous Abraham and of Satan himself, though they varied as to which of these ancestors they took after.

All Jews are children of Satan. Jesus was a Jew. Jesus is God. It's not often that you find one person asserting all three of those things! It's hard to reconcile with the wheat and tares model -- where once the Living God has been born, all the "tares" (Israelites) will be destroyed -- all the other tares, I should say -- because it seems that in Tooker's understanding God himself is not really wheat (the product of a different seed) but rather one of the tares, one that happened to turn out good, atavistically taking after Abraham more than Jacob. If the fruit of the family tree of Israel is God himself, on what grounds can we call it a bad tree that must at some later date be hewn down and cast into the fire? "Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit" (Matt. 12:33).

Coming back to the man Jacob himself, how did someone born in the Bronze Age, long before time travel technology, end up becoming the time-traveling devil? Tooker suggests that the incident of Jacob's Ladder refers to a chance encounter with time travelers and their technology (angels are generally seen as time-traveling agents from the future), and that Jacob thus got access to this technology and decided to use it to rewrite history so that he, not God, would be the last man standing at timelike infinity (not understanding that this was impossible because, well, reasons). Satan is supposed to have made many attempts to kill God or God's ancestors (the "false gods," Satan-affiliated time travelers, demanded child sacrifice because they wanted to eliminate certain bloodlines), and the crucifixion of Jesus is one such attempt that succeeded -- at least until it was undone by more time-travel shenanigans, resulting in the Resurrection.

The command to sacrifice Isaac is presented as a similar attempt by God himself, to erase the devil from history by having his father killed. When God realizes (remember he is just a man from the future, not omniscient) that he would be grandfather-paradoxing himself, he sends another agent back to the past to stop Abraham from going through with it. 

Jacob's wresting match with God is interpreted as another aborted attempt to stop Jacob from becoming Satan. The "wrestling" is assumed not to have been literal grappling but a "time fight," a struggle for mastery over the timeline. In the end, God perceives that despite everything, allowing Jacob to proceed is preferable to the alternative, and he lets him win.

Ultimately, though, God and his agent Michael win the "war in heaven" (that is, in the future), and Satan is cast down to "earth" (that is, to his own time in the Bronze Age, no more to wander through the spacetime manifold for the ruin of souls).

Oh, and you need to keep the Law of Moses

We have seen that in Tooker's model, God is just some dude from the future and is not Good in any transcendent sense. (He rejects "God is love" as a "dehumanizing proverb," preferring Moses' definition: "The Lord is a man of war; the Lord is his name.") God's way is the right way for essentially Darwinian reasons -- because, as it happens, it is the only way that takes the inclusive fitness of the human species all the way to timelike infinity. And Satan is not an imp on your shoulder egging you on to succumb to vice; he's a dude from the past trying to kill the dude from the future. Whether you yourself are sinful or virtuous, whether you inwardly align yourself with God or the devil, doesn't ultimately seem to make much difference in this war, the outcome of which has already been determined by the ineluctable fate that decrees that straight is the way that leadeth to life.

With that as the metaphysical background, it is odd to find that Tooker's book ends with a little diatribe against "Paulism," and particularly against Paul's teaching that the Law of Moses has been superseded. Pork remains absolutely forbidden, Tooker insists, and circumcision absolutely required -- for what exactly? Because, as the butterfly effect would have it, some critical mass of humans must do those things or else the species is doomed to extinction? But we know that future history has already been written -- and rewritten for the final time -- and that the species does not go extinct. As for personal immortality and the afterlife, Tooker barely mentions it, contenting himself with a passing reference to the possibility of "going to heaven" by being shunted off the timeline into the Minkowskian "elsewhere," and leaving us to guess whether or not going there has anything to do with not eating pork.

The whole "Paul is bad because we have to keep the Law of Moses" thing almost seems like a separate theological hobby-horse, left over from before the Time Travel Interpretation had been formulated, and included here as a sort of palimpsestic holdover.

Assessment

Tooker's thesis is undeniably fun to entertain. It's fascinating to revisit all the familiar Bible stories from this entirely different perspective and see how everything might be reinterpreted in its light. In the end, though, it fails in some very important ways. Here, aside from the specific problems detailed above, are its main flaws.

First, though perhaps not foremost, it bases everything on "time travel" without coming up with any rigorous theory of the same. The idea of time travel cannot even be coherently formulated as a hypothesis in the four-dimensional world of Einstein and Minkowski, and naive attempts to do so -- the H. G. Wells style thinking that if time is just another dimension, we should in theory be able to travel in it -- are ill-conceived. To travel from Point A to Point B means to be at Point A at one point in time and at Point B at some later point in time. For example, if I was in Chicago Heights at 2:00 and Buffalo Grove at 3:00, I traveled from Chicago Heights to Buffalo Grove. "Time travel" would mean that Points A and B are not places but times, though -- leading either to tautology ("I was at 2:00 at 2:00 and at 3:00 at 3:00") or to contradiction ("I was at 2:00 at 2:00 and at 12:00 at 3:00"). I don't see any way to think at all clearly about the possibilities of "time travel" except from an explicitly Dunnean standpoint, where dimensions of meta-time are recognized. Wells unconsciously smuggles in Dunnean assumptions.

More importantly, the whole model is too "cosmic," and not personal enough, to really serve as a religion. God and Satan had a time war, and God won -- which is good, because it means the human race will survive to timelike infinity. This has all in some ill-defined sense "already" been done, and that's why all those things in the Bible happened. Fine. Now what? How does this relate to me as an individual and how I should live and what gives my life meaning? If God's ultimate victory is what really matters, then nothing I do really matters, since nothing I can do can affect that. (If it did, God would just go back in time and undo what I had done.) As for my own personal destiny, Tooker barely touches on it, except to mention in passing that it would be technically possible to "go to heaven" in the "elsewhere" regions of Minkowski space. Will God come back and manipulate spacetime to do that for me if he wins in the end? Is that why it matters? "I don't know, just remember to get circumcised and lay off the pork."

Overall, Tooker's "theology" reads like some history lesson (about things in some sense "already done") about how the good guys defeated the bad guys and made the world safe for democracy or something. Yes, very inspiring, three cheers for the flag and all that -- but if that's your answer to the Bible, are you really sure you've understood the question?

Happy 132nd birthday, Uncle Honkard!

I don't know why I remember this in such detail all these years later, but I do.

When we were kids, one of my little brothers had a ton of stuffed monkeys, including an orange one called Orange José (to distinguish him from Invisible José). After a bit of searching, I found this photo of the exact monkey he had, produced in 1982 by Dakin, on eBay. It's weird seeing that face again.

On Monday, August 31, 1992, my brother announced that Orange José's Uncle Honkard (represented by the same stuffed toy as José himself) had just turned 102 and that he needed a birthday cake.

Monday nights were Family Home Evening, and each week a different family member was assigned to prepare refreshments. It happened to be my brother's turn that week, and so he baked a chocolate birthday cake for Uncle Honkard, following a recipe in one of our mother's cookbooks -- but he forgot one little thing: the sugar! So we got an unsweetened chocolate cake, which tasted pretty bad. It later became the subject of a rhyme, patterned after the famous one about the Gunpowder Plot:

Please to remember
The eve of September
Honkard cake, chocolate unsweetened
Isn't it loco
That unsweetened cocoa
Should ever have been eaten?

In the following years, there were a few attempts to celebrate Uncle Honkard's birthday again, this time with deliberately unsweetened chocolate cake ("Honkard cake"), but our mother would never allow it. (You weren't normally allowed to just bake a cake because you wanted to, especially an intentionally unappetizing one.)

The rhyme makes it easy to remember "the eve of September," but I have no real explanation for the fact that I've always been able to remember so effortlessly that Honkard's birthday was first celebrated in 1992, and that he turned 102 that year. That makes him 132 today, a number that has turned up in recent syncs.

Now, thirty years later, I am "loco" enough to drink unsweetened cocoa from time to time, just bitter cocoa powder and hot water -- which I suppose is a bit scandalous in this blogging circle, where even preferring dark chocolate to milk is considered degenerate. Blame it on Uncle Honkard, I suppose. I'll have a cup today in his honor.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Put Your Hand Inside the Puppet Head

This isn't a sync or anything, but all this talk of glove puppets made me want to listen to some early TMBG.


Oh, wait, maybe it is a sync. When I searched for the lyrics (which include, I notice now, "There's a pounding at the door"), this came up:


It was the Venn diagram that caught my eye, what with all the recent vesica piscis and overlapping circle syncs -- and, wait, why on earth is that the thumbnail for "Doctor Worm"? I've watched the music video for "Doctor Worm" a zillion times, and I'm sure there's no Venn diagram. It turns out theymightbegiants.com is selling T-shirts with this on them:


Doctor Worm is a link to Mr. Owl and the Metal Worm, of course. A "real worm" who "likes to play the drums" also syncs with the "all-insect rock band" The Bugaloos, which I recently discovered because Wayne Laryea (who played Johnny on Pipkins and got bonked on the head by "Michael") was a member -- as the keyboard-playing bumblebee Harmony.

What are you looking at, Johnny?

"(She Was a) Hotel Detective," another of the also-search-fors, has this line: "If there's a knock at the door, boy / Forget about it 'cause she's a / Hotel detective."

Anyway, this isn't really a sync post. Just enjoy the song. Give "Doctor Worm" a listen while you're at it.



Note added: Shortly after posting this, I ran across this Venn diagram meme from a year ago.

Monday, August 29, 2022

Precognitive dream: Carrying a pet in a room where it's raining

Last night I had a dream that I picked up my black tomcat Scipio and carried him upstairs to my study on the second floor. When I entered the study, I found that it was raining hard outside and the roof was leaking (which makes no sense on the second floor of a three-story house, but that's dream logic!), so much so that it was basically "raining" in the study, too. Water had gotten all over everything. Fortunately, my second-floor bookcases are actually cabinets with glass doors, so I figured the books themselves would be okay, but I would still have to clean up everything else. I carried Scipio downstairs and then went back up to the study to clean. When I opened the door the second time, though, everything was dry, so I decided cleaning was unnecessary.

A short vignette followed in which I had stopped at a food stand on the side of a dusty road but had decided not to buy anything because the food (Taiwanese-style luwei, various braised dishes) was all soft and overcooked and just didn't look very appetizing. I was getting ready to pull back onto the main road when I noticed a man standing there holding a stop sign. It was a bit smaller than a normal stop sign, and it wasn't fixed in the ground, so I wasn't quite sure if I was legally required to stop or not. Then he turned the sign around so that I could see the back surface, on which someone had painted by hand "IRAQ WAR." I decided it must just be some dude protesting the war in Iraq, not a legal stop sign, so with some hesitation I pulled out onto the road. It was really very dusty, and the landscape seemed to be some kind of sandy desert environment. I drove a short distance up a hill and came to a little house made of corrugated metal, with a covered carport in the front. Some people were sitting out in the carport area preparing food -- cutting and washing vegetables or something like that. One of them was an old woman who looked Chinese but spoke with a New York Jewish accent. She was saying, "I've always been a great admirer of your country's war in Iraq -- both of them, in fact. I think you guys were heroes. And you know the other thing I admire about your country? You never ask Jewish children to sit on the floor. You always provide these little stools for them."


In the morning, I checked my blog comments. WanderingGondola had written:

On the bus home, headphones still cranking, I read through the then-freshly-posted "Michael the glove puppet and X the Owl". As my stop drew closer I saw the bus windscreen wipers move once, though rain wasn't evident; at roughly the same time, my music player put on Outkast's Ms. Jackson. The relevance of "Jackson" should be obvious, but there's also a repeated "ooh" in the song chorus that always sounded more like "hoo" to me. And yes, there's an owl or two in the video; one specifically mouths (beak-syncs?) to an "ooh".

As I got off the bus, I realised it was indeed raining lightly. Over the past month there's been several instances of this, as if the sky decided, "Hey, you're almost home, let's turn on the water." As I pulled out my umbrella and began walking, the rain's intensity increased. Just as it seemed it couldn't get any heavier, it eased off significantly -- around the same time that Andre 3000 rapped out, "You can plan a pretty picnic but you can't control the weather" (2:20 in the video). A very weird coincidence.

Mulling over this later, I recalled Wikipedia's notes on how, in Islam, the Archangel is "said to effectuate God's providence as well as natural phenomena, such as rain." That links rather well to that Michael graffiti from earlier, which has "inshallah" ("if God wills" in Arabic) written above everything else. 

I noted the coincidence of her having a rain-related sync and my dream about rain. It wasn't until later that I actually watched the video for "Ms. Jackson," though, and realized that the connection was much deeper than just "rain."


Starting around the 2:13 mark, we see André 3000 in a room where the roof is leaking so much that it is basically raining indoors. He is trying to put out jars and pots and things to catch all the rain -- all while carrying a pet in one hand. At first I thought he was carrying a cat in a few shots, but on viewing it again, I think it's always a dog or puppy. There's a cat in the room the whole time, too, though. (We also see an owl several times. André 3000's other famous song is of course Hey Ya -- which means "black crow/raven" in Chinese.)

In the second part of my dream, there is a stop sign that isn't fixed in the ground, and I am unsure as to whether I need to stop. This afternoon, Debbie left this comment:

On Feb 24, 1979 Johnnie Wilder at the height of Heatwave's success, was in Dayton to visit his mother and father and his car that he was driving was broadsided at a 4 way stop. The Stop sign had fallen previously and wasn't replaced.

Update: In the comments, Henri notes the Outkast song "B.O.B. (Bombs Over Baghdad)." How had I never heard of this song?

So I posted about how a dream of mine synched with an Outkast song mentioned in my comments the next day. In the vignette that followed the main dream, I was driving a car and saw a man apparently protesting a war in Iraq by holding up a sign that said "STOP" on one side and "IRAQ WAR" on the other. Now I discover that Outkast also had a song called "Bombs Over Baghdad," and that the music video features people driving around in cars and a giant "STOP."

I also discovered today that, years after using an eagle owl in the "Ms. Jackson" video, Outkast member Big Boi began keeping owls as pets, leading Rolling Stone to do a thing about "Big Boi's Owl Obsession."

Sunday, August 28, 2022

More syncs related to the "Glove Puppet" video and crop circles

It turns out (see Debbie's comment here) that my most recent reference to the Locust Grove crop circle (pdf), in "Michael the glove puppet and X the Owl," was posted on the 19th anniversary of the appearance of that formation on August 24, 2003. On the same date in 2004 a very similar formation appeared in Miamisburg, Ohio (pdf).

The glove puppet referenced in the title of that post is from an episode of the British TV show Pipkins. As WanderingGondola pointed out in a comment, the broadcaster's logo features a vesica piscis -- actually, two overlapping vesicae, each with a circle inscribed in it to make an eye shape (as in the Locust Grove formation), and these circles overlap to form a third vesica. The whole thing bears more than a passing resemblance to the 2004 Miamisburg crop formation.


Here's a schematic representation of the geometry of the ATV logo, which is based on four overlapping circles forming two vesicae piscium in which smaller circles are inscribed.


There's another well-known logo that approximates this same geometry pretty closely.


WanderingGondola also calls attention to two other interesting features of the Pipkins video. At the end of the glove puppet story, Johnny asks Moony to ask Michael to say the word it's, which he does. Then a series of images of clocks flashes on the screen for a few seconds, and then the word Time. Johnny then appears, completing the sentence: "[It's time] for me to make a glove puppet."


This fits with recent syncs involving such phrases as "It's time," "Now is the time," "The time is now," and "Time's up." (See "Owl time, and cold noodles." I notice now that the owl featured on that post is blue, like X and Meneer de Uil.)

Also, the credits at the end feature a name which is interesting in the context of the Mormon doctrine that Adam, the first man, is the same individual as Michael the Archangel.


WanderingGondola also notes that X the Owl get his name from the word escape, mispronounced by Daniel Striped Tiger as X-scape, and that Xscape also happens to be the name of a posthumously released Michael Jackson song and album. Check out what, according to IMDb, Michael Eve was doing just before his work on Pipkins.


Of course the series is a decade too early to have anything to do with Michael Jackson's Thriller, but the name is still quite a coincidence. It's not a just a Michael Jackson album; it's the Michael Jackson album, the only one a non-fan like myself would be able to name off the top of my head.

Michael Eve also worked on a series called Knock on Any Door in 1966. In the O. Henry story "The Green Door," the protagonist, Rudolf Steiner (no relation!) is handed a mysterious card with "The Green Door" written on it, and responds by entering a nearby apartment building, seeing a green door, and knocking on it. Only much later does he discover that all the doors in the building are green, and that he could have knocked on any one of them.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

You are what you eat, Mr. Owl

Regular readers will know that I've been getting a lot of sync mileage recently out of the nonsense palindrome "Mr. Owl ate my metal worm."

This morning (August 24), I had a tutoring session with an adult student of English. She had a few questions about a news article she had read, which was reporting some recent research about the detrimental effects of eating too much "ultra-processed" food. The article began by referencing the saying "You are what you eat."

In the afternoon, I was looking through a children's English textbook that was made in partnership with the National Geographic Society. This partnership gave the authors access to lots of cool photos, a privilege they were apparently determined not to waste. Even straightforward vocabulary is often illustrated with rather odd images, which I think is a bit counterproductive from a teaching standpoint. Supposing you were completely unfamiliar with the words cardboard and metal, do you think the illustrations below would make their meanings clear?

The tools illustration is fit for purpose, I suppose, and glass is okay (although I would have included a wider variety of glass items to avoid giving the impression that the word means "bottle"). Cardboard isn't terribly straightforward, but at least the car in the picture has some mnemonic utility. Metal, though -- who in their right mind would think that the least confusing way to illustrate the concept of metal is with a photo of a metal sculpture of an owl?

It's a pretty good sync, though. Not just a metallic owl, but an owl labeled with the word metal -- not iron or steel or anything, but the very word that is used in the palindrome -- and on the same day that I encountered the saying "You are what you eat." Eat too many metal worms, and you'll end up like this guy.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Michael the glove puppet and X the Owl

Back on August 17, Bruce Charlton posted an episode from the old children's TV show Pipkins (which I had never heard of), in which Hartley Hare buys a glove puppet named Michael and uses it to "be naughty" -- bonking someone on the head, stealing food, etc. -- always saying, "It wasn't me! It was Michael!" 

I didn’t actually watch the video until a couple of days ago. The name Michael caught my attention, of course, given the recent syncs related to an archangel by that name, but I couldn't see any connection between an angel and a glove puppet used by a hare as an excuse for "being naughty." Then I went back on YouTube to watch it again, searching for the video instead of clicking Bruce's link. I got a different video -- identical to Bruce's, except that it begins with Hartley announcing, "This episode is called 'The Glove Puppet.' He's called Michael after our director" -- meaning Michael Jeans, the creator of the show.


So in a way it really was Michael doing all those naughty things! Michael the puppet is controlled by Hartley Hare, who is himself a puppet controlled by Nigel Plaskitt, who is an actor saying and doing as directed by -- Michael!


After writing the above, I took a break to do some simple housework and put some music on. It only took a few minutes, so I only listened to one song:


I think of this as basically Linkin Park (plus Mike Shinoda, who is also Linkin Park) -- but the instrumentals and some of the background vocals are from Train, a group I know only for that awful song that sounds like Dobie Gray minus the soul. I looked up the Train song used in the above video. It's crap, too -- as usual, Kill_mR_DJ redeems it -- but the name caught my attention: "Angel in Blue Jeans." Fancy running into a song called that just after discovering that Pipkins was created and directed by someone called Michael Jeans!


The general appearance of Michael the glove puppet, particularly his very large nose, made me think of another such puppet: Lady Elaine Fairchild from Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.

Michael (left) and Lady Elaine

I hadn't thought about Mister Rogers' Neighborhood in ages, and looking up images of Lady Elaine led me to a character I had completely forgotten about: X the Owl, the blue owl who lives in a tree, says "How in the world are ya?" and takes correspondence courses from O.C.S.


This got my attention not because of the general owl theme in recent syncs, but because I have specifically connected Mr. Owl (from the palindrome) with Michael the Archangel. I first made this connection in "The Locust Grove crop circle," the original link being the word who. Owls say "who," and the name Michael means "Who is like God?"

This morning (August 24) I received an email from Debbie with the subject line "Strange Owl Synchronicity." She had stopped at a gas station near Cincinnati (and therefore not far from Locust Grove) and found that someone had drawn an owl on a brick wall at one of the pumps.


Just above this owl, on the white material at the top of the wall, someone had written "WHO?" -- with an X inscribed in the O.


If memory serves, this is only the second time in my life anyone has emailed me a photo of graffiti. The first time was three days previous, on August 21, when an anonymous correspondent sent me this:



Note added: How did I miss this little sync wink in the Pipkins video?


It's not just that there's a green door; there's a moment when there's nothing but a green door on the screen.

Monday, August 22, 2022

Apparently I remote-view better with delayed feedback -- so is it really remote viewing?

So, this is weird. The way RV Tournament works is every day it gives you a set of coordinates keyed to a target image, and you try to pick up psychically what the target image is. Then it shows you two images and you guess which is the target. The next day, the correct target is revealed, and you find out if you were right or wrong. I'm usually right -- about 80% of the time.



As you can see, the probability of my guessing as well as I have by chance alone is 1.6% -- not an astronomically low number (the sample size is still quite small), but certainly "statistically significant" by most standards. (If you're wondering how it's possible to get 78.6% of 15 rounds right, it's because the latest round hasn’t been judged yet. My track record is 11 out of 14.)

In addition to the daily "tournament" image, RV Tournament provides three "practice" images every day. The procedure is exactly the same, except that the feedback is immediate. As soon as you've made your guess, it shows you the answer. In "practice" mode, I show no evidence of remote-viewing ability whatsoever, guessing right exactly as often as predicted by chance. In fact, I often receive a rather clear psychic flash, but for the wrong image.


As I've said, 1.6% is by no means an impossibly low number, so one obvious possibility is that I've just been lucky with the tournament so far for no particular reason, and that over time both success rates will approach 50%.

If that doesn't happen, then the question is what is causing the difference. The only difference between the two types of trials is the time between guessing and receiving feedback. (You can also receive cash prizes for doing exceptionally well in tournament rounds, but I haven't signed up for that, so that's not an issue.)

My hypothesis would be that what I am doing is not actually remote viewing in the strict sense, but precognition. Instead of getting a paranormal glimpse of an image located outside my field of vision, I am getting a paranormal premonition of what I will see the next day, when the correct answer is revealed. In practice mode, I try to get a premonition of what I am going to see in a few seconds. Then, a few seconds later, I see both images and make my choice; and a few seconds after that, I see the correct image only. With these two future experiences so close together in time, it is easy to imagine that I might easily attempt to foresee one but in fact foresee the other. In tournament mode, though, the two future experiences are separated by approximately 24 hours, making that sort of mistake less likely.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Climbing the sycamore tree

Very early on the morning of August 19, I saw a comment asking how I was doing with the Rosary, and the thought that immediately came to mind was, "Someone like me praying the Rosary is like Zacchaeus climbing the sycamore tree." As you will recall, Zacchaeus, the chief publican (meaning a collaborator with the Romans and thus a great "sinner"), was too short to see Jesus in the crowd, so he climbed a sycamore fig tree to get a better view. Jesus saw him, and said, "Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house" (Luke 19:1-10).

I think the sync fairies have been trying to get me to make this connection for a while. An August 9 comment by Debbie mentioned the sycamore tree and that it had biblical significance, but my first thought was not of Zacchaeus but of Amos the Prophet:

Also Amaziah said unto Amos, "O thou seer, go, flee thee away into the land of Judah, and there eat bread, and prophesy there: But prophesy not again any more at Bethel: for it is the king's chapel, and it is the king's court."

Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, "I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet's son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit: And the Lord took me as I followed the flock, and the Lord said unto me, 'Go, prophesy unto my people Israel'" (Amos 7:12-15).

I like the idea that Amos, the first of the Prophets in the narrow sense of that word, began his career as a gatherer of sycamore figs. My own motto, of course, is "The highway is for gamblers / Better use your sense / Take what you have gathered / From coincidence."

The day before Debbie's comment, I had written "A few days ago I had the thought that a tree could be the equivalent of the Green Door, but I can no longer retrace the train of thought that led me there." (My own Green Door had led me to a fruiting banyan, a close relative of the sycamore fig.)

This morning, the connection became apparent. One of the meanings of the Green Door is the door at which Christ knocks: "if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me" (Rev. 3:20). When Christ knocks, you can hear that he's out there, but you can't see him because the door stands between you. So you open the door, and he comes into your house. Zacchaeus, too, could hear Jesus but could no see him, so he remedied the situation by climbing the sycamore tree -- equivalent to opening the door -- and this action, too, resulted in Jesus' coming into his house and dining with him.

I think of praying the Rosary as a sort of hineni, symbolically equivalent to opening the door, climbing the sycamore tree, or saying, "Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth."

Praying the Rosary as a Mormon

The evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray.
-- 2 Nephi 32:8

Apparently I am not the only Mormon to have been directed to pray the Rosary. Michelle Wiener posted this in 2020:

I haven't spoken much about this -- much less written about it -- but in a sacred experience I had a couple years ago, I was told to "pray the Rosary." While this is common to many Marian-type apparitions (this was not the Virgin Mary speaking, but it wasn't Heavenly Mother, either!), I tried to make it clear that I was not Catholic, but Mormon. But She would not take "no" for an answer. 

Wiener ended up with a "Mormon feminist version of the Rosary that I wrote back in 2019, after struggling for several years to come up with a version that worked." In my case, despite the very Catholic (i.e. not-Mormon) nature of the Rosary prayers and Mysteries, the Spirit has insisted that I not modify them in any way -- that I not invent a "Mormon Rosary" for myself but rather pray, primarily in Latin, the actual Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as revealed to St. Dominic and expanded by Popes Pius V and John Paul II, and by the Fátima visitant.

I was also directed to track down and read a particular book (I was given its title in French) by the 19th-century French mystic Éliphas Lévi, who was, among his other spiritual pursuits, a Roman Catholic priest. I have not finished it yet, but early in its pages the case is made that no one should ever, on the grounds that he imagines himself to have a higher or truer understanding of God, scruple at joining himself to the common prayers of mankind. "What God hath cleansed, call not thou common or unclean."

I think this is correct. To cavil, over matters of theological opinion, at something so obviously holy and inspired by God, is to be like the Pharisees, or like those who in their misguided piety dared to say "holier than thou" to Joan of Arc and Joseph Smith.

Beyond this general lesson, I assume I have something important to learn from the content of the Rosary itself, but I'm letting that come in its own time. I suppose a focus on the immediate family members of Jesus Christ, and on how their exaltation is inseparable from his own, is not really as foreign to the spirit of Mormonism as all that.

One of the scriptural objections to Rosary-type prayers is the warning in Matthew against "vain repetitions":

But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him (Matt 6:7-8).

But Jesus didn’t say God hears us the first time, making repetition unnecessary; he said God already knows what we need before we ask him, making a prayer uttered only once just as superfluous as one repeated many times. The “vanity” then must lie not in the act of telling God something he already knows (what, if that were the case, could be more “vain” than to pray “thy will be done”?), but in the superstitious expectation of being heard for one’s much speaking.

I have yet to work out all the whys and wherefores, but in the meantime there is not the slightest doubt in my mind that God wants me to pray the Rosary — not a “Mormon Rosary,” but the Rosary — and that the full reason for this will become clear in time.

Does he want you to do so as well? That’s between you and the Holy Spirit of God.

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Éliphas Lévi on the spiritual meaning of Godzilla

From Éliphas Lévi's Histoire de la magie:

This blind force, which the power of Christianity enchained and cast into the abyss, meaning into the centre of the earth, made its last efforts and manifested its final convulsions by monstrous births among barbarians. There is scarcely a district in which the preachers of the gospel did not have to contend with animals in hideous forms, being incarnations of idolatry in its death-throes. The vouivres, graouillis, gargoyles, tarasques and not allegorical only; it is certain that moral disorders produce physical deformities and do, to some extent, realise the frightful forms attributed by tradition to demons. The question arises whether those fossil remains from which Cuvier built up his mammoth monsters belong really in all cases to epochs preceding our creation. Is also that great dragon merely an allegory which Regulus is represented as attacking with machines of war and which according to Livy and Pliny lived on the borders of the river Bagrada? His skin, which measured 120 feet, was sent to Rome and was there preserved until the period of the war with Numantia. There was an ancient tradition that when the gods were angered by extraordinary crimes, they sent monsters upon earth, and this tradition is too universal not to be founded upon actual facts; it follows that the stories concerning it belong more frequently to history than mythology.

Cuvier died shortly before the discovery of dinosaurs properly so called, and the "mammoth monsters" named or described by him include the mastodon, Megatherium, Mosasaurus, and our own favorite, the Pterodactlyus antiquus.

The tarasque -- a chimerical monster of Provence, supposed to have been tamed by St. Martha, sister of Lazarus -- was later adopted and adapted by D&D as the game's biggest, baddest monster, described as "basically a kaiju" -- that is, a gigantic Japanese movie monster of the kind typified by Godzilla. Only after seeing Lévi juxtapose it with the giant reptiles of paleontology -- "dinosaurs" in the layman's sense -- did I notice how phonetically similar tarasque is to T. rex. St. George is sometimes portrayed in art as slaying what looks like a Coelophysis bauri, so why not imagine St. Martha using holy water and a cross to bring a Tyrannosaurus rex to heel? (No, I'm not proposing that this actually happened; just making connections.)

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Okay, now RV Tournament is just messing with me


If I had seen a green door, I would have dismissed the image as coming from my own mind, not the target. I didn't see that, though; I just saw the general geometrical layout, with the diagonal lines of the path leading to the verticals of the door.


The scribbled lowercase letters are notes on color: yellow, red, white. I guess the y and r are a hit, since I put them in an area where the wall is kind of orangish. The white circle on a stem (I thought it might be the back of a person's head) corresponds to nothing in the target image, although I suppose conceptually it is consistent with the fact that this is a path leading to a door, the sort of thing you would expect a person to be on.

As I have said before, my mental images when I do this are so crude and low-res as to be completely useless for any imaginable practical purpose. I wonder, though, if you had access to the notes of hundreds of people all remote-viewing the same target, if you could use them to reconstruct a pretty detailed "composite sketch." Obviously, whoever is behind RV Tournament (it's supposed to be someone called Michael Ferrier) has access to just that. I hope that in addition to the sort of crude statistical analysis he is reporting -- x% of users' guesses are right, which has a y% chance of occurring by dumb luck -- there are "composite sketch" studies going on behind the scenes. What you'd do is give 100 viewers' notes on the same target to someone who doesn't know what the target image was, and have them sift through them, noting common threads and trying to reconstruct the original image. If most viewers' images are roughly of the same caliber as my own, I bet you could get some fairly high-quality results. If the composite sketch experiments are a success, the next step is to get a contract with the military, law enforcement, CIA, NASA, or whoever. Unbeknownst to RV Tournament users, some percentage of the coordinates they are given will actually be keyed not to the stock images we are told they are keyed to, but to genuine unknowns on which the customer wants to gather intelligence. Then the next day show the users two stock images, neither of which was really the target, and let them all think they were just unlucky that day.

My money says they're already doing this, because, really, how stupid would you have to be not to think of it?

This green door thing really makes me wonder about the mechanism behind these psychic flashes, though. If I saw the target image, even through a glass darkly, anything that even hinted at possibly being a green door would be the first thing to jump out at me. That -- not the funnel shape formed by the path and jambs, and certainly not the vaguely reddish-yellow color of some of the stones in the wall -- would have been my primary impression. This suggests the unsettling possibility that RV images are not direct perceptions by the viewer but communications from a differently constituted mind.

Really, though, a green door! What are the odds? Where does extrasensory perception leave off and synchronicity begin? And what's next -- owls?

So far, I've been doing extremely fast-paced gestalt viewing, where I just scribble down my first impressions in five seconds or less. Once I've gotten into the groove, I might try my hand at some more leisurely, detailed Courtney Brown style techniques, using a pencil and paper rather than a touchscreen.

Monday, August 15, 2022

Little darling, the smile's returning to their faces

At long last, a minority -- a very small minority -- of the Taiwanese are beginning to dispense with their Science Masks. I know it doesn't mean much, but it's still nice to be able to see sometimes up to six or seven complete human faces in a single day. Even such a small change has a perceptible effect on the overall atmosphere and drives home just how brutal, barbaric, and anti-human the whole Science Mask policy has been.

I know it's meaningless -- no one has repented -- but it still makes me happy. There's no sense in it, no logic, it's instinct. I love the sticky little leaves as they open in the spring, the blue sky -- that's all it is.

Why is being unforgiving an unforgivable sin?

And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses (Mark 11:25-26).

Discussions of the "unforgivable sin" usually focus on the sin against the Holy Ghost, but this passage from Mark (also Matt. 6:14-15) seems to indicate that being unforgiving is also unforgivable: If you don't forgive others, God will not forgive you.

Isn't that surprising? Failing to forgive is such a relatable sin, something that comes so naturally to just about everyone, that it is counterintuitive to say that it is less forgivable than other, seemingly more serious, sins. For example, if a rapist repents, he will be forgiven; but if his victim fails to forgive him, she will not be forgiven. Isn't that a bit shocking?

I suppose the most natural interpretation of this passage is that if you want God to forgive you, you have to forgive others, because it's only fair. I don't think that cuts it as an explanation, though. We're talking about forgiveness here, which is by definition not about being fair, but about extending mercy to those who deserve condemnation. "I can't forgive you, because it wouldn't be fair"? But it's never fair. If it were fair, it would be vindication, not forgiveness.

My best guess is that forgiveness is an absolute requirement because Heaven is not an individual state, like Buddhist enlightenment, but membership in the Family of God, and as such it inherently involves relationships with other former sinners. It's not that God views unforgiveness as "the worst sin" and insists on "punishing" it; it's that, as a matter of spiritual and psychological fact, one simply cannot participate in Heaven until one can freely and fully forgive.

Sync note: Opening up BibleGateway to look up this post's text led to the syncs that resulted in the post "Many sparrows, again, and other sync links." That post prominently features figs and mentions my finding figs growing on the wall of the abandoned restaurant, as related in "Owl time, and cold noodles." In "Owl time," I said that the figs made me think of Mark 11:13. The passage I was looking for for this post also turns out to be from Mark 11.

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Flexible graphite arms, purple rubber, and remote viewing

On the afternoon of August 13, the same student who randomly mentioned owls serving as alarm clocks in colonial America asked if she could tell me about a dream she had had about a month ago.

In the dream, she was visited by small purple aliens "from a Blue Planet, but not like Earth because they actually classify Earth as a Green Planet," and they took her on board one of their "flying laboratories" to show her how new aliens were created. "They wanted me to see it because they were really proud of how the whole process works. I didn’t mind, because these aliens are always quite respectful. I'm a bit frightened of them, but only a bit."

There were two big machines in the lab. One made the body parts, and the other assembled them. "First you make the arms, and you have to put, uh, this into the machine" -- and she held up a case of refill lead for a mechanical pencil.

"Lead?" I said.

"No, this. It's not actually lead."

"It's actually graphite."

"Yes, graphite. And the machine uses that to make the arms. When they come out, they're not attached to anything, and they're kind of wiggling and wobbling all over."

"Really? But pencil lead isn't very wiggly."

"I know, but that's how the machine makes it. Their arms are really quite wiggly. They're strong, but they don't actually have any bones."

She went on to explain how the rest of the body -- the torso and the head (this kind of alien levitates and doesn't have legs) -- is made by putting different material into the same machine. The material for the rest of the body is purple rubber. Finally, the arms, torso, and head are put in the second machine, and a complete alien comes out.

"When the alien came out, they told me not to touch it, because it was still very -- you know, it breaks easily, like glass."

"Fragile."

"Yes, the new baby aliens are extremely fragile, and they're transparent. They aren't purple yet. You have to wait a bit until it's safe to touch them -- well, you still can't really touch them. You have to wear special gloves like this." She sketched a glove with webbed fingers and drew small circles all over it.

"What are those circles?"

"They're like what an octopus has on its tentacles, they use those gloves to move the babies when they're still fragile -- they didn't let me do it -- and they put them in, I guess it's called a flying nursery, where they stay until they're purple."

"Who takes care of them? I guess they don't have moms and dads if they come out of a machine."

"No, they don't, but there are adult aliens that take care of them. They showed me a bit of the flying nursery, too. They had this thing they were really proud of : an oven, and they would put the babies in the oven."

"They put the babies in an oven? Why did they do that?"

"Well, I guess it's not really an oven. I just called it that because when they opened it I could feel that it was quite warm inside. What it does, is it makes them grow up faster. Well, not grow, because the babies aren't smaller than the adults, but they become adults faster. You can put transparent babies in there, and when they come out they're a bit purple -- not completely, but they've started to become purple. And normally that would take weeks. They've really sped up the process."

"Why do you think they wanted to show you all this stuff."

"They were just proud of it, and when you've done something you're proud of, you want to share it with other people and help them understand it a bit."


Shortly after hearing about this dream, I tried to visit Synlogos, but autocomplete unexpectedly took me instead to SynchroMiss -- a blog I visited months ago when I was methodically going through a list of links to 2009-era sync blogs. The most recent post, "SATuRN STRANger TRANSgender," included this:


Just after I had expressed incredulity that something made of graphite could be "wiggly," I run across this reference to an "incredibly stretchy" material made from graphene.

The reference to pencil lead really being graphite, and in the context of "arms," also syncs with this comment of mine about pencil points, bullets, and "Graffites."

Even the "purple rubber" from which the rest of the alien is made is a sync.

On August 6, I started using the RV Tournament app to practice remote viewing. They give you target coordinates and let you sketch and write notes on the screen. Then they show you two photos, and you guess which was the target image and state your level of confidence. The next day, the correct answer is revealed, and your cumulative score is adjusted based on whether you were right or wrong and how confident you were.

For my first attempt, I decided to keep it simple by trying to get only the predominant colors of the target image, ignoring everything else. The color I got was purple, but then, despite my intention of focusing only on color, I got a spontaneous mental image of a torus, or doughnut shape, and scribbled that down, too.


Neither of the target images was purple, but one of them featured tori, and I correctly chose that one with 90% confidence.


So I saw purple torus when the target image was actually some rubber tori. Later my student would report her dream in which aliens were made of purple rubber.

So far I'm doing okay in RV Tournament, although the number of trials is still too low to draw any real conclusions.


The chances of getting at least 5 out of 6 right by dumb luck are 7/64, or about 11% -- nothing particularly remarkable. And my mental images are extremely crude -- usually enough to choose Image A over Image B, but not enough to describe the target image itself in any real detail.

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Honey-tongued Canadian politician swallows a bee live on camera

I don't really have anything to say about this at this point, but it has the feel of an omen, or the first half of a synchronicity, or something like that, so I'm posting it here for future reference.


A bit of minor synchronicity already: I happened to post this just after posting birth and death statistics from the Taiwan government. The bee-swallowing incident made me think of "There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly," and I remembered that I had referenced that rhyme once before on this blog. Looking it up, I found "She swallowed the cat to catch the bird," a post in which I also posted death statistics from the Taiwan government. The post is dated August 14, 2021 -- almost exactly one year ago today.

Sorry about that, sync fairies. I guess I was supposed to post this tomorrow.

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