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Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Apocalypse Soon? Theorizing method to the madness of pre-trib politics

This is only a notion that entered my mind. But it's one that all too greatly suggested itself.

Just reading where the United States is recalling its ambassador to Syria. This comes in the wake of the bomb assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minster Rafik Hariri yesterday.

And more people than you might want to know are right now cackling and grinning and rubbing their hands with anticipation over this news.

I've already written on a few occassions about the end-times beliefs that drive most of the supporters of the current administration in the White House. It can be safely said that those who consider themselves "Christians" and fall into line behind Bush can be divided into two categories: those that want to take over the world before Christ comes, and those who want Christ to destroy the world so that "if we can't have, nobody can!" The pre-tribulation Rapture folks are this latter group. They're the ones that buy the Left Behind novels in droves and keep that franchise's masters milking it for everything they can get out 'cuz they know the pre-tribbers will just come on back for more. Rabid Pre-Tribbers are the Judeo-Christian version of the Trekkies, when you think about it. But they're also the ones that, I tend to believe anyway, will vote for any candidate, nod approval for any policy, and refuse to stand against anything that actually violates the teachings of scripture, if they believe that these thing will hasten the onset of Armageddon. I heard one Christian tell me recently that George W. Bush was God's chosen instrument to trigger the events that will lead up to the Second Coming.

She was serious.

And there are millions more like her in America. That don't give a flip about the apostle Paul's teachings to the Thesselonians about occupying themselves with the work of Christ, and let Him worry about how and when He'll come. If redemption draweth nigh, doesn't it make sense as a Christian to try to love one another even more so that others will find that redemption too?

But that's not the mindset at work here with too many professing Christians. They want the supreme pleasure of knowing that their name will forevermore be stamped upon the peak of human history, because there will be no more human history at all: the ultimate mode of narcissism.

As a Christian I know that someday the Lord does come back. But as one without divine knowledge and understanding, I have no idea how exactly that will take place. I can see some evidence for their being a pre-trib Rapture... but I can see just as many indictations that it will be a post-trib Rapture too, where everyone has to endure the terror of the Antichrist. Might be a good thing too, 'specially for Christians in industrialized nations: we've gotten too soft and comfortable in our belief that we die, He comes, end of worry and that's it... so we don't do anything in the here and now. It's about time we start knowing the pain and persecution that most believers have had to endure for these two thousand years. You don't see any "Christian Epicureans" described in scripture, y'know.

So here's where I'm getting with all this: one of the chief tenets of Pre-Tribulation Rapture is that the city of Damascus is to be utterly destroyed. The timing of this is important: most Pre-Trib adherents teach that this comes before the Rapture, based on several other prophecies and mentions of countries that are found in Isaiah and Daniel and a few other books of the Old Testament (and Revelation in the New one 'course). Isaiah 17:1 is the chief source of the Damascus prophecy:

The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.
Damascus is the oldest city in the world. It has never been laid waste or otherwise made inhabitable. So this means its a prophecy that has not been fulfilled yet.

Its fulfillment will be taken to mean that the Second Coming is soon.

Don't you think it would be within human nature of some people to try to destroy it - or at least hasten its destruction - so that their unique perspective of a religion will be the one that wins out over all the others that have ever existed in human existence? Doesn't having that capability suggest the temptation to use it, at least?

Don't think for a moment that at least one of the more prominent "Christian leaders" hasn't whispered this into the ears of President Bush: that God wants him to be the one to turn Damascus into a ruinous heap. Doesn't even matter if that's Bush himself or not they're whispering to: this is something that's been practically openly desired for the past quarter-century. Why shouldn't we believe that they wouldn't want to act on this kind of opportunity?

Just posing the possibility out there.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Watch the ball and behold the future

Two bits of news that caught my eye. The title of one immediately brought all kinds of cultural references to mind and the other was just plain weird enough to pique my curiosity.

From the London Daily Mail via RedNova.com:

Posted on: Friday, 11 February 2005, 00:00 CST
Can This Black Box See Into the Future?

DEEP in the basement of a dusty university library in Edinburgh lies a small black box, roughly the size of two cigarette packets side by side, that churns out random numbers in an endless stream.

At first glance it is an unremarkable piece of equipment. Encased in metal, it contains at its heart a microchip no more complex than the ones found in modern pocket calculators.

But, according to a growing band of top scientists, this box has quite extraordinary powers. It is, they claim, the 'eye' of a machine that appears capable of peering into the future and predicting major world events.

The machine apparently sensed the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre four hours before they happened - but in the fevered mood of conspiracy theories of the time, the claims were swiftly knocked back by sceptics. But last December, it also appeared to forewarn of the Asian tsunami just before the deep sea earthquake that precipitated the epic tragedy.

Now, even the doubters are acknowledging that here is a small box with apparently inexplicable powers.

'It's Earth-shattering stuff,' says Dr Roger Nelson, emeritus researcher at Princeton University in the United States, who is heading the research project behind the 'black box' phenomenon.

'We're very early on in the process of trying to figure out what's going on here. At the moment we're stabbing in the dark.' Dr Nelson's investigations, called the Global Consciousness Project, were originally hosted by Princeton University and are centred on one of the most extraordinary experiments of all time. Its aim is to detect whether all of humanity shares a single subconscious mind that we can all tap into without realising.

And machines like the Edinburgh black box have thrown up a tantalising possibility: that scientists may have unwittingly discovered a way of predicting the future... (Click here for rest of article).

I went to the website for the Global Consciousness Project and skimmed over their procedures and data. Interestingly enough it does look like some pretty serious and thorough research going on here: the procedure for each step - from numerical generation to graphing - is documented at length. The data is made freely available for anyone to study on their own. And links and abstracts regarding similar research (wait a sec: our tax dollars are funding more of this?!) can be found. Some of them DO sound pretty oddball: like The RetroPsychoKinesis Project, which among other things sponsored an attempt by martial artists to alter past events with their minds. Ummmmm wasn't that the central storyline of at least five or six episodes of Kung Fu: The Legend Continues?

By the way, if you ever hear about how some sociologist named James D.L. Staunton did a study in 1958 on train and airplane disasters dating back to the 1920s and after sifting the data found that fully-loaded planes and trains rarely crash and that passengers who intended to travel on them skipped-off 'cuz they "felt sick" or something, thus implying that there's some kinda mass psychic ability going on here: don't believe it. That one got mentioned a few times in college and have seen it come up on the 'net over the years, but I did a Google search and couldn't find anyone in real life named "James D.L. Staunton" or even a "James Staunton" who was a sociologist studying train wrecks. You will find James D.L. Staunton on page 536 in the paperback edition of Stephen King's The Stand, however: looks like Staunton was just a plot device by King. But if I'm "getting" the technobabble right, the Global Consciousness Project does at least sound an awful lot like how the precogs in the Department of Pre-Crime worked together to detect an "incoming" future murder in Steven Spielberg's movie version of Minority Report...

Y'know, there's an idea right there: let's recruit all the Xbox modding hotshots to work on a honkin' humongously BIG network of Xboxes (hey they're way cheap as PCs) that'll crunch even more numbers and churn out results in HDTV. With that kind of power we'll be able to see EVERYTHING in the next thousand years: from the Second Coming of Christ to the First Coming of "Duke Nukem Forever"! Seriously though, coincidence or not, that is a pretty neat correlation that this project is finding.

Anyhoo, the next lil' item comes courtesy of the London Daily Telegraph:

Robotic ball that chases burglars
By David Millward
(Filed: 14/02/2005)

A large black ball, originally designed by Swedish scientists for use on Mars, could be the latest weapon in the war against burglars.

The device, developed at the University of Uppsala, acts as a high-tech security guard capable of detecting an intruder thanks to either radar or infra-red sensors. Once alerted, it can summon help, sound an alarm or pursue the intruders, taking pictures.

It is capable of travelling at 20mph, somewhat faster than a human being. Even worse for intruders, the robot ball can still give chase over mud, snow and water.

The ball relies on an internal pendulum to control its motion which, when shifted, changes the centre of gravity and starts it rolling.

Other devices, including microphones, cameras, heat sensors and smoke detectors are mounted on its central axis.

Nils Hulth, co-founder of Rotundus, the company which is marketing the ball, said it was especially well-suited to patrolling perimeter fences.

The prototype, just under 2ft in diameter, weighs about 10lb. "It is extremely light, which is why it moves so fast," Mr Hulth said.

While the current version can only raise the alarm, it could be adapted to corner an intruder if the customer wanted, Mr Hulth added...

Bold words were my emphasis, 'cuz after reading this I was laughing so hard that the Coke I was drinking literally came out of my nose! Now there's all kinds of dangerous balls that we know of (no Rollerball doesn't count 'cuz people chase the ball not vice-versa). There's that classic toy from yesteryear Happy Fun Ball:

And who could forget that boulder that tried to squish Indiana Jones? I almost didn't want to mention it because it did miss its target and to date Deadly Amazon Idol Temple Boulder of Death(tm) can only boast a 1-1 record... but since it did wind up killing "Weird Al" Yankovic we'll make note of it:

For some reason, the very first things that popped in my head when I read this article's title were those delightful shiny flying Christmas tree ball ornaments that Angus Scrimm always sends after Reggie the Ice-Cream Man and crew during the big showdown in whatever abandoned funeral parlor they wind up in during those wonderful Phantasm movies:

But that still wasn't it. The thing that darned nearly destroyed my nasal tissue with Coke - no not that coke - was because Rotundus' ball sounds WAY too much like this (Rotundus should pitch this in commercials with the tagline "Who is Number One?"):

I wonder if Rotundus is giving Patrick McGoohan any royalties from this gimmick. They oughtta 'cuz it's Rover, that ball-thingy that relentlessly chased after you - on land or water - if you tried to escape The Village in McGoohan's old 1967 TV show The Prisoner! Of all the crazy ideas that television ever gave us, a homicidal weather balloon was the absolute last thing I expected to become an even remote actuality. Other than it being that the Rotundus ball doesn't suffocate an escapee like the Rover did (thankfully), this sounds exactly like Rover.

Ooh-boy... this could be a lot of fun. Can you imagine having one of these and then needing to call Rotundus Tech Support?

CUSTOMER: Okay, it seems to be working now. Thanks for walking me through this!

ROTUNDUS TECH: You're perfectly welcome sir, and we do appreciate that you chose to purchase our product. If you have any more problems or questions please call this same technical support line. Do you have something to write with?

CUSTOMER: Yes, have a pen right here.

ROTUNDUS TECH: Okay sir, you are ticket number...


"You are, Number Six."

Saturday, February 12, 2005

About "that website story"...

For the record, 'cuz plenty of mail has been coming in about this, given my earlier relationship with the subject matter:
- Yes, I've heard about what's gone down the past 48 hours or so.

- Yes, I've read the open letter.

- No, I haven't read the message thread.

- No, I haven't read any comments about it anywhere.

- Yes, I'm aware some things I've written here have been posted to another website.

- No, I do not post to that other website.

- No, I do not even regularly visit that other website.

- No, I do not presently post messages to ANY websites (other than TheForce.net forums as "Chris Knight", and not as much as before).

- Yes, I'm aware that a few things about the years I spent there have been discussed very recently.

- Yes, I'm aware that at least one thing that I wrote a year ago has been brought up.

- No, I don't regret saying THAT a year ago, because if the person it was directed at didn't desire to understand it then that's not my problem.

- No, I'm not going to "check it out" because "I don't care".

- No, I'm no longer angry about what happened, because if this letter is accurate then I'm more than happy to no longer have any association at all with the subject.

- Yes, I could say an awful lot about the situation.

- Yes, some of it might be very damaging.

- No, I won't.

- Yes, I promise that I won't.

- No, I don't even care to mention them by name, because if this is indeed "the shot heard around the net" then there's no need for me to bring any more attention than this thing deserves (a Google search had it coming up at least 400 times anyway).

- No, I don't regret my time there. Regarding anything. I stayed as true to myself as I could be and that's all I knew how to do.

- Yes, it's regrettable that what happened there, has.

- No, I'm not gloating. There's no gloating at what has become a very sad state of being for too many people.

- No, I won't even gloat at what's happened to him.

- So no, I don't want to be involved with this. At all. Ever. Leave me out of it. Please don't even ask me to get involved in any way.

Yes, that's all I intend to say on the subject.

Screamin' Dean has no meanin': Why Democrat and Republican loyalists are fools

Did a quick look through all the major news sites and #1 story today is Howard Dean getting elected to be chairman of the Democratic Party.

Why should we care?

This'll be a big deal to a lot of people. The Dems will praise their new leader and the Pubs will hate him more. That's all.

This "news" has no intrinsic value whatsoever. But it has the intended effect: trick a lot of people into thinking that this "really matters" so they can be even more faithful Democrats or spiteful Republicans and not have to bother to think for themselves about the things that ARE important. So they can be used by Those With Power(tm).

All of you Democrats who believe this news is critically important: you're wrong. And you do precisely what's expected of you when you become such tools to your party's masters. Same to you Republicans: you'll focus anger on Dean just like you did when he was running for President, and you won't even bother to stop and consider why it is that you are angry with him. Just as you were led to hate Kerry for no reason. Which is just as many Democrats hate Bush for no reason other than because he's a Republican: whatever legitimate issues you might raise against the man, you corrupted your message into self-destruction.

But that's okay, because you - regardless of whether you are Democrat or Republican - will have behaved just as they knew you would. But you can't become one of "them": you know, the Bushes, the Kerrys, the Gores, the Kennedys, the Doles, the ones that dangle the carrot and tease you with power, make you believe that you really are important to them. You want the kind of power that they have... but they will never allow you to have it. They'll trick you into believing that you have it, but you hold no sway whatsoever over those that cut the deals and anoint their chosen candidates. And yet you still cling to the notion that because you belong to The Party, your place within it is priceless beyond negotiation.

You're just cannon fodder to The Party, whichever one you belong to. And after you are gone there will be more that are willing to take your place. Whatever "good" you believed you did for The Party, you will not be missed. Or even remembered. And you are still too afraid to stop clinging to them.

In short: you are all fools. Because you choose to be fools.

Perhaps none of you deserve that power at all. You are getting precisely what you deserve, then. And when your children and grandchildren become slaves, you can blame no one but the person staring at you from the mirror.

The two major parties in this country are a control mechanism on the American people designed to stifle independent thought and observation, and then action. So too are any third parties a kind of control: that they arise primarily as a reaction against one or both of the Democrats and Republicans means that they are an extension of that dominant control, and nothing more. It's true that no one from the Libertarians, the Constitutionalists, the Greens, or the Reform parties will ever win the office of Presidency: they won't be allowed a serious opportunity. Although the parties themselves are not only allowed, they are required by the Democrats and Republicans to perpetuate the belief that to accomplish good, that one must first possess power. And that power can only be effectively wielded if it is more powerful than opposing powers.

That's why the Libertarian Party - though it has some good ideas - hardly ever wins even the most minor of electoral races. They are more determined to keep enough power just to stay on the next ballot than they are with actually doing something substantial. But they're never going to have enough power to do that, at all. That's not their role. They and the others are there to keep the "malcontents" happy in the conviction that they are doing "something that matters", and that is all that they can do.

To wit: the news that your TV sets bring you every night, the politicians you are expected to vote for, the passions that arise from sound bites and petty insults and empty rhetoric, the anger and hatred that you somehow justify having toward your fellow man... are all a means of control.

You are under control.

Which means that those of us that are out of control are going to have to figure out what exactly it is that we are supposed to do with you. And if it were up to me, that would mean bringing you out of control, too.

But it's not really up to me. It's up to you.

Life is so much more liberating and fulfilling when you choose to "take the red pill".

Think about it.

Theological wunderkind Kyle Williams is at it again

This time he's talking about what happens "When Christians worship man". Go read it. Now.

Friday, February 11, 2005

The cradle will rock when the stars are right...

So a little while ago my wife and I are talking about how things will be if/when we start having children, and how I've always dreamed of being the kind of Daddy who reads bedtime stories to the kids before they go to sleep for the night.

"But I don't wanna read 'em stuff like 'The Little Red Hen' a zillion times over and over," I told her. "That got old fast. By the time they're five or six I'm thinking something like tucking them into bed and then reading The Call of Cthulhu to them."

I'm not kidding.

She's never read Lovecraft so she's got NO idea what I'm talking about. And she would probably have a restraining order to keep me away from Baby if she did know. But she didn't say "no" so guess that's a de facto "yes" right?

Telling y'all here and now: our kids are gonna grow up in a house that's something else...

More qualified than Gannon: I'm a blogger, a REAL journalist... and now a PORN STAR!

The funniest thing about this Jeff Gannon story, for me at least, is that someone with two days of journalism training during a weekend seminar becomes a credentialed reporter from a website - that was maybe a week-old at the time - and then given regular access to the White House press briefing room. Despite having an obvious agenda to promote a political party, his meteoric rise was duly noted as he not only received the coveted assignment of asking questions at a Presidential press conference, but got called on by first name from President Bush. So the official statement from the White House about this is that they effectively don't care. Whether he was who he said he was, or was a serious reporter, or apparently whether he was distributing gay pornography and prostituting himself over the Internet: none of that matters. He was still considered trusty enough to be acquainted chums with their boss.

Whereas some reporters who've spent countless hours studying and training in journalism during college and a few real-life situations, have beaten serious pavement and driven into the middle of God-knows-where to cover an event, who DO care about turning in an objective, honest and well-written story to their editor, would not only NOT get within a half-mile of this same press room, but get called an "asshole" by that very President, who then orders the same staff that let Gannon in to tell this reporter to "GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!"... some consistency, huh?

Or maybe it's just that I didn't have all the bases covered. I mean, I've never posted a photo anywhere of myself wearing anything less than shorts and a t-shirt. And I've only had one girlfriend in my entire life: the girl who's now my wife. Obviously I haven't been "playing the field" enough to hack it as a REAL reporter per the standards of President George W. Bush and his staff.

Well, time to fix that. Ladies, remember that I'm already a happily taken man: I'm only doing this because of career demands. Wish it hadn't come to this, but I've got a wife and some Sea Monkeys(tm) to keep fed. Seeing as how I've got much more training and experience (as a journalist, mind ya) than Jeff Gannon/James Guckert ever had...

Be sure to catch my new special, "Hot Days and Hotter Knight", premiering this May on HBO.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

"Most of all, you've got to hide it from the kids"

Dustin Hoffman admits that he thinks about sex every seven seconds.

Hey Dustin, "We'd like to know a little bit about you for our files", but that's waaay too much info, buddy! :-P

For all those fans of the Tar Heels after last night's game...

...one of the most renowned among you is "feeling blue" too. But he's got some sage words of wisdom that'll surely pick you right up!!

(P.S.: And Chad, as much as I've always rooted for Duke or N.C. State or whoever over UNC, I must say this with all sincerest conviction: despite this one loss it is a most wonderful thing to behold than I ever thought possible to see the Tar Heels back on top of their - and I mean THEIR - game again :-)

(P.P.S.: Yeah I've come to respect Dean Smith more as the years go by too... but I still struggle over forgiving him for coming up with the "four corners play" :-P)

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Was Jeff Gannon a "PsyOps" by the Bush Admin?

It's not "major league" news in most of the press right now: in fact it wouldn't be surprising if you haven't heard about this at all. But it's gotten pretty big among a lot of bloggers so Lord only knows where this thing is gonna end up.

The Boston Globe broke the story last week that Jeff Gannon, a reporter with a website called TalonNews.com, was enjoying regular access to the White House press briefings and even getting to ask questions to President Bush despite the fact that he was NOT a credentialed journalist... and possibly had no experience or training in journalism prior to coming aboard TalonNews.com.

While a member of the press pool, Gannon became well-known for asking "soft" questions that could only be described as subjective and pro-Republican. Some of these wouldn't even pass muster with a high school journalism teacher: "You've said you're going to reach out to (Senate Democrats). How are you going to work with people who seem to have divorced themselves from reality?" Gannon asked President Bush during a press conference last week. Some have observed that much of the text in Gannon's stories have been lifted verbatim from White House and Republican party documents while passing it off as his own work (oops... possible plagurism there).

Although it proclaims itself to be "committed to delivering accurate, unbiased news coverage to our readers", TalonNews.com has something in common with pro-conservative website GOPUSA.com: both are owned and operated by a Texas Republican activist named Bobby Eberle.

It also now looks like Jeff Gannon is possibly a provider of gay porn and an "escort service". But that's not what this post is about.

This is about how it looks like Jeff Gannon has been a reporter with an agenda all this time.

I gotta wonder how much this was already known, and by whom?

Someone (you don't have to know who this person is, but they have a lot of knowledge on some "things", 'kay) told me years ago how it is that the government - elected or no - can influence the opinions and activities of the general public. This person said that the CIA has long practiced this method, going back at least to the Vietnam War. The resources became plenty available then: they're even moreso now. And most of them probably don't even know that they're being used in this manner.

It's really very simple: an agent of the government contacts a minor media outlet somewhere. Say, a small-town newspaper or low-watt television station... or a low-traffic website. He tells the editor or producer that he's got a "hot tip" for a story. Usually this means that the potential story is intended to sow distrust and suspicion against a particular person or group (my source said that this was regular practice against anti-war activists and others during Vietnam) or in favor of a certain side in a policy debate... such as whatever's going on with Social Security. The small media outlet publishes or broadcasts a story. If it's been "cultivated" well enough then it can be decided that it needs more attention. A larger media outlet receives a phone call or e-mail telling them to "hey check out this issue of the Springfield Shopper there's this story you should check out". So the bigger newspaper or TV station takes a look, figures it's a legitimate story and THEY run with it, referring back to the initial source that first aired or published the news item. Ya see, that "establishes credibility that this is a real story", my source told me.

If played correctly, what started out as practically a filler story in the bi-weekly newspaper down in Lizard Lick, Georgia will go up the food chain, right into ears - and out the mouths - of Fox News and CNN. And it will have the effect of swaying public opinion either for something (or someone) or against.

This is how the government has long had tremendous control over the American people's perceptions of issues and ideology, the source told me: "It's psychological operations against the public."

Here's how one military information website defines "psychological operations", or "PsyOps":

'Psychological Operations: Planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals. The purpose of psychological operations is to induce or reinforce foreign attitudes and behavior favorable to the originator's objectives. Also called PSYOP. See also consolidation psychological operations; overt peacetime psychological operations programs; perception management. ' US Department of Defense
So I gotta wonder: is a PsyOps operation being run on us by members of this administration in the White House? Was Jeff Gannon a "reporter" specially selected and placed so that a "credible news agency" would ask questions - intended to convey certain biases and beliefs that would favor the Bush administration - which would then be picked up and disseminated to a much vaster audience by the big dogs of the nation's press?

Someone had to know that he was there, in the White House press briefings. And that he and Talon News were routinely being sourced as "legitimate" news agencies. Didn't any of this raise some questions about validity or intent? Doesn't this at least bring a security issue to mind?

I'm starting to be inclined toward the belief that Jeff Gannon was a deliberate means by members of this current Presidential administration to influence the emotions and convictions of countless (millions?) American citizens. Hey if they can pay op-ed columnists to shill for them without informing the public about that lil' fact, why shouldn't we believe them to be incapable of inserting a fictitious reporter from a dubious "news website" into their own press briefings, so as to ask questions that will reflect favorably on them?

"But did he leave a tip for that drink?"

Officials fear baby acquired herpes during a Jewish circumcision, apparently after the attending rabbi drew its blood with his mouth.


Sunday, February 06, 2005

I missed the Super Bowl

Were there any good commercials?

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Dr. Kelly Hollowell: Unwitting pawn in a meaningless war?

After finding her remarkable credentials - which include Juris Doctorate and a Ph.D that she earned from her thesis on the genetics of cloning - I have to wonder: How can a woman so intelligent, and so gifted, and so sincere a Christian, and (if I dare say this being a married man) so beautiful, publish something that is sooooo tired and boring?

I refer to Dr. Kelly Hollowell, founder and head of Science Ministries and regular columnist for WorldNetDaily. She has a new piece today titled "The liberal elite's stranglehold on America" and... well, hate to say it but just the title was a setup for disappointment. She's written brilliant stuff before, but not today. And it needs to be said that on each of the three issues she brings up in this article, she and I do stand in agreement for the most part.

I believe that abortion is the gravest sin that our country has allowed to happen. I believe that God created the universe. I believe that the "gay rights" movement is totally wrong, because by definition it establishes the flesh as a person's identity as opposed to it deriving from the intangible soul: Hey, lots of guys including myself like having sex too, but you don't see us marching in the streets with it as an excuse for demanding money and stuff, do ya?

She could have taken any one of those and made a good argument for it. Instead Dr. Hollowell lumped them together as one en masse attack on "liberals". And you know what? She accomplishes nothing with it. Nothing will change in the slightest because of this article. There will be as many if not more "liberals" tomorrow as there were yesterday. The ranks of "conservatives" may grow but there will be no overwhelming groundswell. There will be "liberals" and "conservatives" and this conflict between them - that we are expected to believe really matters somehow - will just go on and on, war without end, hallelujah amen.

The problem is her obvious motivation in writing this: to attack "liberals". And that's all. To that end Dr. Hollowell in this piece sometimes has all the eloquence of a third-grade schoolyard bully. She's far from the only one though: it seems that when others try to destroy "the conservatives" or "the liberals", any semblance of politeness is an acceptable casualty of war.

I see no love and all too much hate coming from both sides. And neither one has any idea why it is that they should hate the other... but they've been fighting each other for so long that all they really DO know about the opposition is that they have to be destroyed. That's all they know about themselves, and to take that fight away from them is to destroy whatever identity they have established for themselves in the eyes of others. More inconceivable to them: it destroys their primary vehicle of power over others. Without a predominant struggle between "conservatism" and "liberalism" in this country, they have nothing to make them seem important. Strip that away, and Jerry Falwell and Jesse Jackson both stand naked as a bluejay.

You see, I don't think that trying to "counter liberalism" is what Dr. Hollowell intended to do with her article, not really. She may not even realize what it is she sought to accomplish with it. Because I believe that the major players on both sides - and legions of the minor ones for that matter - don't want their war to stop at all. They can't afford to NOT keep it going because it ensures that their names are always "out there" for other people to see... the people that are "too weak and stupid" to know how to exist without them, though that's never admitted aloud. The fire must be continually stoked, and all that Dr. Hollowell did was throw more wood into the stove.

Here's the part in her piece where Dr. Hollowell hits the self-destruct button:

They are the ilk of Hitler, Lenin and Jim Jones. They gain power over the nation by arousing it to emotions that overcome thought – all the while proclaiming themselves the gatekeepers of logic.
That could very much be a description of George W. Bush, Karl Rove, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson also. Haven't they played on people's emotions to gain a sense of power and superiority over them?

Dr. Hollowell is a scientist. Wouldn't the sound and proper thing to do as an observer be to remove herself from the system so as to study it without her presence being a bias factor that creates variance in the data? To put it in terms of a moral exercise: shouldn't she be observing herself and the things that she says and claims to believe in, with the same objective eye that she is bound to cast as a researcher on external phenomena?

I don't mean any of this as personal insult to Dr. Hollowell: have said before here that I admire her greatly (and I'd still be honored to have a great discussion over dinner with her some evening, along with our spouses). But she really should know better than to think she's meant to be a great warrior in this battle, when it has no real purpose except to distract the American people from the things that do matter while they are robbed of their freedoms and opportunities by the extremes of both sides. It's a shame that there is a dearth of those who would make them give it back

That's the only thing that impresses me, Dr. Hollowell. The only political philosophy that merits my respect: the value of the individual. Probably the most despised minority of all. People who insist on factionalism are shallow and tepid, and I'm no longer interested in anything they might present before me.

You can do better than this, Dr. Hollowell. You're letting your life and your work be used for something that has no eternal value at all. Let go of it. Let go of them. Step back and be the disattached observer. Cast that dissecting eye on yourself. God obviously intended for you to go on to better things than this. A new generation is coming of age in America, and it won't be shackled down by the tired rhetoric of this deceitful conflict.

You would be considered a guiding light of that generation, Dr. Hollowell, if you would really want it.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Prime cuts of meat get priced and tagged without "sell by" date

University of California is considering tagging human cadavers with supermarket-type barcodes to keep track of them. It's said to be a measure to combat the illegal sale of body parts.

Anyone else noticing how much the real world is starting to resemble what William Gibson depicted in his novel Neuromancer?

That's... scary.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

"Will you kindly explain to me why the Sartres are always born on the other side?"

That line, spoken by Col. Mathieu (played by Jean Martin) is the one bit of blatant humor that I can remember a half-hour after finally getting to watch The Battle of Algiers.

I haven't been this stunned by a movie since The Passion of the Christ came out last year.

No, I didn't watch the State of the Union address by President Bush: he's just going to waste more of our money that we don't really have to begin with. And when was the last time that "the state of the union" was REALLY addressed by one of these speeches? It's become a guaranteed spot of television time where whoever's the current occupant of the Oval Office can suggest something, say anything and spend everything, and he'll still hear nothing but applause from members of Congress. The President isn't even required to make a State of the Union speech at all anyway: the Constitution only mandates that the President "shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient." That could mean a speech or a simple letter to Congress. And how long was this year's shopping spree anyway? I've no idea but I'm sure it had far less brevity than George Washington's first State of the Union address. No, tonight's event has become just like everything else about American politics: a farce. Why the Hell should I waste a moment watching this crap? I'm not even gonna touch how worthless the Democrat response was going to be.

So after spending an hour watching American Idol with the lovely Spousal Overunit, I went looking for something with more meat to it than a fake speech about fake realities by a fake president. It caught my eye while fast-scanning through the channel guide and I had to make sure it was really on: Lo and behold, the first moments of The Battle of Algiers were just starting on the Sundance Channel. This has been something I've been wanting to see for some months now, ever since hearing nothing but good about it following a theatrical release and coming out on DVD. No place around here had it for rental, so after getting permission from my dear wife (it's her TV too ya know) I kicked back to take it in. And I didn't dare move from the sofa for the next two hours.

Damn. Just... damn, man.

This is one of the most brutal movies I can recall ever being made. It's one of the most human films about war ever attempted. It also boasts some of the most convincing special effects - like explosions, and there's lots of 'em - done for a single movie, considering how many there are. It proudly notes that it contains "not a single frame of documentary or news footage".

And The Battle of Algiers (originally titled La Battaglia di Algeri) was first released in 1965.

But if there's any other movie that fits today's situations, I'm hard-pressed to think of what it might be. The Battle of Algiers is practically a two-hour crash course on both staging a violent revolution and then putting it down: U.S. military planners would rapidly wipe out resistance in Iraq if they studied the strategies of the French in this movie more closely (indeed, top brass watched it at the Pentagon in 2003). Likewise, the Iraqi insurgents would handily defeat the American forces if they emulated the tactics of the Algerian underground.

But I don't think that's really possible, because more important than emulating tactics is what kind of motivation is there to begin with. The Battle of Algiers made me realize that it's not a free Iraq that these guys are wanting at all: "Acts of violence don't win wars," the resistance leader tells Ali La Pointe (Brahim Haggiag), "Neither wars nor revolutions. Terrorism is useful as a start. But then, the people themselves must act." In fact, the freedom fighters come across as acting on desperation, on the level of barbarians even, for using it so wantonly. Even if President Bush pulled all our troops out of Iraq tomorrow, terrorism would still go on in that country (and it might be even worse in our absence... darn this movie made me feel conflicted about some things!) because independence isn't the goal. What that goal is, I don't know, but I wonder if the Iraqi insurgents even understand what it is that they want exactly.

But if The Battle of Algiers condemns terrorism, it's equally unkind to military occupation. The torture of Algerian prisoners (many obviously innocent) by French paratroopers brings to mind far too much of the accounts and photographs of abuse done to Iraqi prisoners by members of our own military. It was enough to make me VERY uncomfortable: my jaw literally dropped throughout this one extended show of pain. But even here, there is some rationale offered that comes the closest I've ever heard about how such torture is not only allowable, but warranted by circumstance. Col. Mathieu tells the press that "The word 'torture' doesn't appear in our orders. We've always spoken of interrogation as the only valid method in a police operation directed against unknown enemies." But he promptly follows that up with this observation: that as a soldier, he cannot set policy, but can only follow the orders given him. Those orders must come from authorities outside of the military, and it is they who are ultimately responsible: "Should we remain in Algeria? If you answer 'yes,' then you must accept all the necessary consequences."

In other words, if a nation's armed forces are being used for the wrong reasons in another land, it falls to the people of the country that sent them to put a stop to it. Our soldiers and officers are only so free to act as what we've authorized them to do. And if they commit wrongdoing while under orders, we are the ones who must answer for it somehow.

It's almost impossible to find a movie about armed conflict that not only doesn't take sides, but goes out of its way to give a fair and honest portrayal of the ideals that are driving each faction. The Battle of Algiers doesn't make you root and cheer for either side in this revolution, not really. But it does make you weep for a lot of people, no matter where it is that they figure in this fight. No "good guys" or "bad guys" here: nothing but a muddle of gray that leaves you the viewer to think things through on your own.

Yeah, I'll call it a "must see" movie. It's got my recommendation bigtime.

(Oh yeah, watch the trailer for The Battle of Algiers in Quicktime format here.)

"It's dead, Jim."

Yeah, so I mentioned Star Trek: Enterprise getting canned in the last post.

But how often does a guy get to use that famous line and it actually mean something? :-)

Gettin' more medieval on "Left Behind"'s behind...

Some others are weighing in about what was discussed here yesterday. The Refuse blog lays some serious smack down on Left Behind:
Left Behind™ is a media empire. But, more than that, it seems that the success of Tim Lahaye and Jerry Jenkins is what epitomizes the desired goal of every publishing house and record label in the Christian ghetto. It's a sign of the times in which we live, that cheap media to the masses in hopes of making a buck is competing with the command of John 21:17: "If you love me, feed my sheep."

How else do you explain the lack of honesty in the number one hits of CCM? How else do you explain the poor quality fiction coming out of Christian publishing? Or the poor quality Christian movies? How else do you explain Christian t-shirts, bumper stickers, license plates outlines, and posters? How else could you possibly explain fifteen novels in one series?

The cultural interrogation continues, courtesy of the good folks at the evangelical outpost:
But what do the millions of books and products represent? Does it reveal an interest in eschatology among non-believers or just a hunger for Tom Clancy-style thrillers with churchgoers? Is the dispensational theology inherent in the novels representative of evangelicalism or does it lead to misperceptions about our beliefs? Are the novels great popular art, good entertainment, or shoddy pulp being pawned off on a gullible public?
Hate to say this - I mean, I really hate to say this, given how certain people are going to understand how big an insult this is (although I don't intend to insult LaHaye and Jenkins at all: I met them briefly some years ago and they're both nice fellas) but this has gotta be said...

Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins have become to Christian literature what Rick Berman and Brannon Braga are to the Star Trek franchise.

Except that Brannon and Braga seem to have actually learned from their mistakes and made Enterprise a better show for it.

(Oops. Looks like I spoke too soon: literally learned less than a minute ago that Enterprise has been cancelled! Maybe it's a good thing: Star Trek has gone on non-stop for too long. That field needs to get some more nutrients in it before it's sown again.)

But y'know, this whole Left Behind thing has made me understand something for the first time: it's only dawning on me now why it's a good thing that George Lucas is leaving the Star Wars saga at six movies, instead of the projected nine and twelve that he talked about twenty years ago. If he did it per the plan that Gary Kurtz revealed to TheForce.net some years ago (and that's the second link to my old stomping grounds I've made today!) it would have been torturously slow and painful to endure the complete epic.

Perhaps, if they were to ever meet him, Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins might be given this timeless wisdom from The Plaid one that he has spoken many, many times over the years:


THE KNIGHT SHIFT Exclusive: Christopher Lee's VERY FIRST Horror Picture Appearance!

And it was way, WAY before he played this guy.

Or before he appeared as Lord Summerisle in The Wicker Man, either. Or as Fu Manchu or Scaramanga or the Mummy... and before The Lord of the Rings was anything but scribblings in Tolkien's notebook. Five years before George Lucas was born, his future Count Dooku made an appearance in one of the most unique - and gruesome - photographic records of the twentieth century.

This ain't quite "exclusive" to this blog, since I posted the same discovery two days ago on TheForce.net's Episode 3 Spoilers forum. But you have to be a registered member of the board and explicitly ask for access to that particular forum (it's TheForce.net's way of protecting Those Who Will Not Be Spoiled, along with HIGHLIGHT TO READ: the Amazing Inviso-Text!(tm)) so it's not available for just anyone to read. That's why I wanted to post about it... 'cuz this is a pretty cool historical find!

It might also explain the path that Christopher Lee's career took in the following decades...

Guillotining of Eugene Weidmann

The above photograph was taken moments before the execution of Eugene Weidmann early on the morning of June 17th, 1939 outside the Saint Pierre prison at rue Georges Clémenceau in Versailles, just outside of Paris. Weidmann had been convicted - after finally confessing to the crimes - of kidnapping and murdering six people, including a female American dancer. His taking responsibility for the murders spared the lives of his three accomplices but set Weidmann up for a date with Madame Guillotine.

If you look carefully you can see Weidmann already strapped to the bascule and that he's been tilted into position with the lunette closed around his neck. This was possibly less than 5 seconds before Jules-Henri Desfourneaux (just four months into the job of nation's chief executioner) released the déclic that sent a 90-pound steel razor blade slamming into Weidmann's neck with a half-ton of force before coming to rest after falling for 1/70th of a second. Debate still rages as to whether the victim is immediately rendered unconscious or if he/she has what might be up to 60 seconds of awareness after the head has been severed from the body before the brain finally runs out of whatever oxygen was in the head's blood at the moment it was removed.

Eugene Weidmann inadvertently became the last person publicly executed by guillotine in France. The crowd of witnesses got so rowdy (a few accounts have them dipping hankerchiefs in Weidmann's blood as "souvenirs" of the execution, not to mention throwing handfuls of blood and spinal fluid all over the place) that the French government never again allowed executions to be a public spectacle: they would be remanded to privacy behind the prison walls, with only a few prison officials and the lawyers of the condemned on hand to witness the act.

Somewhere in this photograph, amid the crowd of witnesses for what would be final public use of the guillotine, is a young English lad named Christopher Lee. The future acting legend was 17 years old when he saw Weidmann lose his noggin.

Lee was visiting a friend in Paris at the time when it was announced that Weidmann's appeals had been exhausted and that his execution was to take place immediately. Standard procedure before capital punishment ended in France in 1981 was that the prisoner was awakened in the early morning the day after any chances of clemency or acquital had dried up. He was informed that with no possibility of reprieve, that his execution was to be carried out immediately. By that time everyone else knew that he was gonna leave prison a little less taller than he was when he came in. The condemned was given time to pray with a priest, offered a last cigarette and then however many shots of rum he could stomach (heckuva cure for a hangover huh?). His hands were bound, then promptly escorted to the guillotine and secured into the apparatus. As soon as his neck was trapped in the lunette the blade fell, allowing scarce time for the victim to feel panic or anxiety about being killed in so bloody a fashion.

Lee and his friend heard that Weidmann's execution was going down, so they went to Versailles to see it happen. Somewhere in this photo you're looking at the future Count Dooku, and Saruman, and Dracula, and Rasputin, and Fu Manchu, and Lord Summerisle, and Frankenstein's Monster, and the Mummy, and Francisco Scaramanga, and Dr. Catheter, and that Nazi from 1941, etc. watching the last guillotine decapitation that they let Jean Q. Publique take a gander at. It's sorta like that photo of Abraham Lincoln's funeral procession in New York City and if you look real carefully you can see six-and-a-half year-old Teddy Roosevelt watching it from a window above the street. I've no idea where exactly Lee and his friend are supposed to be at in this one though (and I only connected Lee to these photos after finding that he mentioned being at the execution during an interview) but ObiWan506 from the Jedi Council Forums at TheForce.net found this possible location:

And if that wasn't pretty wild (though way morbid) enough already: there is film footage of this execution! It's one of the only two motion pictures known to exist of actual guillotining. But it's... pretty harsh, trust me. I had to mention that though 'cuz technically it would qualify as Christopher Lee's first-ever appearance in a horror film if we could find him somewhere in it :-P

Anyway, I really wanted to put this out there and share with any other fans of Christopher Lee that might find it. He's always been one of my very favorite actors and the kind of life that he's lived (months after seeing Weidmann executed Lee and some friends snuck into Finland and offered their services against the Soviet invasion in the Winter War, then worked for British Intelligence in World War II) can only be called one to envy. That he's still going strong and doing the kind of work that he loves at age 83 is really inspiring. After doing a lot of looking I hadn't found where anyone else had put Lee and the photos of the Weidmann execution together, so if this really is an original contribution to Christopher Lee's mystique - in however small a way - it'll come as something that I'll be tremendously humbled and honored to have done.

So I had to publish because of that, and this: if you understand, based on whatever scant bits of info has come your way about Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, what's going on in this scene...

...then you're gonna appreciate the irony when it's released in a few months :-)

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Iraqi militants are nothing: thank God he wasn't captured by Destro or Dr. Colossus

Geez, I'm kicking myself hard about this. When this picture first broke on the 'net I looked at it and the first thought was "That doesn't look like a real person... it looks more like a doll." But that got dismissed fast. It seemed too silly, only 'cuz I knew that these terrorists, as evil as they are, surely couldn't be THAT dumb, right?


From My Way News:
Web Site Claims GI Captured in Iraq

Feb 1, 3:03 PM (ET)

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Iraqi militants claimed in a Web statement Tuesday to have taken an American soldier hostage and threatened to behead him in 72 hours unless the Americans release Iraqi prisoners. The U.S. military said it was investigating, but the claim's authenticity could not be immediately confirmed.

The posting, on a Web site that frequently carried militants' statements, included a photo of what that statement said was an American soldier, wearing desert fatigues and seated on a concrete floor with his hands tied behind his back. The figure in the photo appeared stiff and expressionless, and the photo's authenticity could not be confirmed.

A gun barrel was pointed at his head, and behind him on the wall is a black banner emblazoned with the Islamic profession of faith, "There is no god but God and Muhammad is His prophet."

A U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, Marine Sgt. Salju K. Thomas, said he had no information on the claim but "we are currently looking into it..."

A statement posted with the picture suggested the group was holding other soldiers...

Okay, I guess they really ARE that stupid, after all:

'Captured GI' A Real Doll

BAGHDAD, Feb. 1, 2005

(AP) The U.S. military said Tuesday that no American soldiers have been reported missing in Iraq after a Web statement claimed that an American soldier had been taken hostage.

The posting, on a Web site that frequently carries militants' statements, included a photo of what that statement said was an American soldier, wearing desert fatigues and seated on a concrete floor with his hands tied behind his back.

But the authenticity of the statement and photo could not be verified, and Liam Cusack, of the toy manufacturer Dragon Models USA, Inc., said the image of the soldier portrayed in the photo bore a striking resemblance to the African-American version of its "Cody" military action figure.

"It is our doll ... to me it definitely looks like it is," Cusack said. "Everything the guy is wearing is exactly what comes with our figure."

He said the figures were ordered by the U.S. military in Kuwait for sale in their bases, "so they would have been in region."

In Baghdad, Staff Sgt. Nick Minecci of the U.S. military's press office in Baghdad said "no units have reported anyone missing."

The figure in the photo appeared stiff and expressionless.

In the photo, a gun barrel was pointed at the head of the man's figure, and behind him on the wall was a black banner emblazoned with the Islamic profession of faith, "There is no god but God and Muhammad is His prophet..."

At this hour President Bush is considering what few options are available toward rescuing Private First Class Cody, and reportedly is now discussing the situation with Steve Austin and the Bionic Bigfoot.

Back to the Tyndale House of "The Rising" Son

The Left Behind books have become a literary trainwreck for me: I know I shouldn't look because it's going to be awful, but since I've read all of them over the past six years anyway I feel compelled to turn and stare, just in case I've "missed" something that will make so much of the previous time in the series worth it. Book #8, The Mark was the last time there was a thrill here, and even with the Glorious Appearing of Jesus Himself coming into the fray of what was supposed to have been the final installment, it was a letdown. Part of it is that I think Jerry Jenkins wanted to be respectful toward the subject matter and play some things safe, but toward the end he began playing it too safe. In all brutal honesty, the entrance of Jesus Christ was about as exciting as a pro wrestling comeback by George "The Animal" Steele. Here it is from page 203 of the hardcover edition:
Heaven opened and there, on a white horse, sat Jesus, the Christ, the Son of the living God.
"ZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzz... it is? He where? What channel?"

Now imagine someone like, say, comic book artist Alex Ross (creator of DC Comics' Kingdom Come and Earth X for Marvel) handling this same situation:

Without warning, Armageddon paused.

Ray gazed across the plain toward the brunt of Carpathia's forces. No movement. It was as if the forces of the Antichrist had stopped... themselves?

He turned toward Jerusalem. The ancient city that loremasters taught had been born of neighbor's friendship had been wracked and mangled beyond all recognition. Not in all the centuries since the glory of Solomon had Jerusalem received so grievous a wound as was inflicted upon her in this one hour. But even there, now only silence.

A silence among his own forces, Ray now realized.

A silence over their enemy.

A silence in the heavens.

Without warning, it came. And to Ray it seemed as the very fabric of space and time had divided. The miracle of the Red Sea, on a scale of the power cosmic itself. The curtain of known physics buckled and surrendered to a force far beyond mortal ken.

Light poured through the rift, illumined the ruined metropolis. And then, at once the height of creation and the breadth of a man of Earth, came One that not even Carpathia, with all the legions of Hell at his command, dared to challenge.

A thousand angels, of every color that fevered dreams might conceive, came up behind Him.

And Ray, overwhelmed by the spectacle, staggered and fell to his knees.

The end of Carpathia had... no! Not Carpathia. The end not of Carpathia, but of death, and entropy, and every vile thing that had troubled humanity in even the depths of his heart. All of this would pass away as the stuff of creation was repaired, reoriented, made new before his very eyes!

It wasn't everyday that you got to witness the destruction of your own universe, but Ray found that he'd still managed to crack a smile, here at the end of all things.

Now, THAT woulda been a heckuva style to read it in!

Anyway, I had no idea this was happening so soon until last night but they threatened to do it, and it looks like Jenkins and his collaborator Tim LaHaye did find a way to squeeze more mileage out of the Second Coming (as if it wasn't finality enough). March 1st is when Tyndale House publishes The Rising, a prequel set before the Rapture took place at the beginning of the main series. It's supposed to focus a lot of attention on Nicolae Carpathia: how he spent his youth and came to be an Antichrist-in-waiting. And to Jenkins' and LaHaye's credit, after reading the online excerpt from Chapter One it did pique my curiosity an awful lot about how they're handling the origins of these characters. But The Rising is going to be the first of a prequel trilogy, followed by the REAL final chapter taking place a thousand years after Glorious Appearing.

Fellas, Stephen King only needed seven volumes to tell his Dark Tower saga. That's the same number needed to see Harry Potter graduate from Hogwarts. Do you really have to make Left Behind be sixteen full-length novels that your fans will feel obligated to plow through after paying good money for? Couldn't this have been truncated down... say, to one novel for each year of the Tribulation, then one prequel and the post-millenial follow-up?

I'm not even gonna begin to touch the "kids' series" or the graphic novels. Or the board game, the rumored videogame, the whispers of plans to make action figures based on the series ("geez that's wonderful a Fortunato doll that drools real Slime(tm)")...

And maybe it's because I no longer fully subscribe to the belief in a pre-tribulation rapture, like most Christians around me do, that's dampered my enthusiasm for this series. That doesn't mean I entirely embrace any of the other notions of how the end times play out either: to be honest, I don't know how it will occur. But I'm not going to pretend comprehending its design either. There's only one thing I've come to be certain of: that when it happens, however it happens, it will be completely in agreement with everything that was foretold about it, in every possible way. At the same time, it will be like NOTHING that we have imagined or theorized that it would be. That's the way God works, the way He's always worked... and why would He change that formula with a few minutes left on the gameclock anyway?

But there's one other thing that caught my eye when I was at the Left Behind website last night. This promo graphic for The Rising seemed awfully, awfully familiar:

It's that kid, with his eyes and the way he's pointing that finger. What's he supposed to be anyway? And then it hit me... of COURSE, and it's pure genius. That kid in The Rising promo...

...is none other than Anthony Fremont from the classic "It's A Good Life" episode of The Twilight Zone! NOW things start to make sense about Left Behind. Obviously the Rapture happened when Anthony tried to make his dinosaur TV show appear like always but a weird fluke of nature temporarily dampened his powers and all the TV's channels inexplicably began showing Benny Hinn nonstop. It was more than little Anthony could take... so he wished away planet Earth's entire population of born-again Christians into the cornfield!! There's your "Pre-Trib Rapture", folks.

As for Benny Hinn himself, millions of his disciples suddenly found themselves numb-struck with horror as Hinn, just as he started to "lay hands" on one of his "crippled" staff members, was suddenly turned into a giant jack-in-the-box. "A jack-in-the-box with HINN'S ugly face!" little Anthony Fremont yelled aloud, as he wished the dinosaur show to come back on.

That's a real good thing you did, Anthony. It's fine and we're happy and we're all good. We're only thinking happy thoughts...