Sunday, December 26, 2010


I saw "Agora" this weekend, I received it as a gift. It is amazing,
riveting, and disturbing. And it's wonderful. For it's American release,
the anti-Xtain elements were toned down in the publicity. But anyone
viewing this movie could not avoid the conclusion that early Xtianity
was founded and popularized by a cult that would impress the t*liban.
Much of early Xtainity was strengthened by a diehard
anti-intellectualism, which lives on today in Creationist theme parks,
best selling end-of-times novels, and the demonization of scientists and
environmentalists who give their all in the defense of our planet.

This movie should be required viewing for anyone interested in Wicca and
Paganism. (Thanx GreenGhost, for giving me the DVD.)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Yule

The Wheel turns! This wonderful pic is via Dr. Zaius. Don't you think it sums up the year fairly well? Bye-bye, Christine O'Donnell.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

DIY Lego Antikythera

I love this fascinating devise. Now someone has built on from Legos!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Ants cause Xtain angst at Smithsonian

Art or Hate Speech? Video of Ants Crawling on Crucifix Pulled from Smithsonian

I well remember the war against the NEA, waged by the Religious Right against a number of artists (such as Karen Finley) in the 1990's. Well, it seems like old times as an outcry over an exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution has resulted in the artwork being pulled from display:

...A provocative video depicting ants crawling over a likeness of Jesus on a crucifix has been pulled from the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery...The video drew sharp criticism from conservative groups following publication of a CNS news service article Monday with the headline: "Smithsonian Christmas-Season Exhibit Features Ant-Covered Jesus, Naked Brothers Kissing, Genitalia, and Ellen DeGeneres Grabbing Her Breasts."

Wow, they sure saved the best for last! But is Ellen grabbing her own breasts, or those of her S/O's? But anyway:

...Several Republican leaders, including incoming House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, have said they will examine taxpayer funding for the Smithsonian in the wake of the controversial display.

People have been wondering how the new Republican majority in the House will be flexing its muscles. I think this is a good indication.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Pompeii being destroyed AGAIN!

Latest Pompeii collapse: Garden wall gives way

This is so sad. It seems Italy is having real difficulty conserving its remarkable history:

...A stretch of garden wall ringing an ancient house in Pompeii gave way Tuesday after days of torrential rain, the latest structure to collapse at the popular archaeological site...

This is the third in a string of recent collapses.

More pics here.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

All Hail the good people of Maple Ridge

Council has moment to reflect

Many have taken issue with prayers of invocation at the start of town council meetings. For those who cherish the concept of the "Separation of Church and State", this becomes even more troublesome when just prayers of mainstream faiths (dominated by Christian ones) are welcome. In the USA, debates in small towns often degenerate into shouting matches, egged on by outside agitators. But a town in British Columbia CA has come up with a reasoned solution to this problem:

...Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Muslims and Sikhs could all offer their thoughts and blessings to Maple Ridge council, as politicians continued their plan to invite all groups to start council meetings on a spiritual note.

The town is granting a period of time "and reflection" for a list to be generated documenting the varied faiths around their community. Not only that, the invoking prayer has now been modified, to become a "moment of reflection" to allow readings and other expressions which don't quite fit in the definition of "prayer". What's quite exceptional about the town council of Maple Ridge, is that they are even extending a hand to less established faiths:

...The invitation would include groups that don’t have established locations to practice their faith...

That seems wonderfully inclusive of the non-mainstream!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Rest forever in SummerIsle, dear Ingrid Pitt

Ingrid Pitt, star of many Hammer Horror films, and a small but significant roll in the original Wicker Man, died the other day shortly after a collapse.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Is Hutton Wrong?

Ron Hutton's landmark book "Triumph of the Moon" is on the bookshelf of many Wiccans and Pagans. In it, Hutton asserts there is little connection between modern Paganism and the Paganism of old. For years, Hutton's pronouncements about the history of our religion have influenced many of the movers and shakers of modern Paganism and Wicca. A number of popular Pagan authors rely heavily on Hutton and basically treat it as 'gospel'. Currently there's a budding controversy concerning Hutton's book and the conclusions he reached. For some time, there's been occasional objections raised to Hutton's conclusions. Frequently, these objections have been rapidly silenced by those same movers and shakers. Finally, someone has come forward to more fully flesh-out those criticisms and provide something of a 'take down' of Hutton.

I first read of this at Wildhunt, down in a longer post:

But the discussion really heats up at Fr. Barrabas blog, here:

The comments sections includes posts by some of those directly involved in the recent analysis.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Keep Looking Up

RIP, Mr. Jack Horkheimer. I really enjoyed your "Star Hustler" shorts.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

2012 Mayan Calendar scam

Few things piss me off more than charlatans hawking end-of-days crap. As I've said before, I feel the fact certain people in the New Age and Pagan/Wiccan world support this nonsense is something to be ashamed of. Dark Star has a great post over at DailyKos, "Apocalypse Soonish", about a true villain in this hoax--which happens to be The History Channel:

...Having a channel called the History Channel running a nearly non-stop stream of this lunacy is a true disaster, and one for which we don't even have to wait till 2012. By mixing in these fear fests with actual bits of history, they are doing more make it impossible for people to distinguish between fact and fiction than all the gibbering pundits of AM radio combined. They are, quite simply, the purveyors of the most harmful bullshit on television. If someone does harm themselves out of fear about impending disaster in 2012, I hope that their friends and family look very closely at where they got such ideas....

Good suggestion. But I wonder if family and friends of the whole Hale-Bopp/Heaven's Gate suicide cult (here, and my post here) held some of the radio and Internet conspiracy spinners accountable?

Monday, May 31, 2010

Jason VS The Oil Spill

How would Jason of Greek mythology handle the Gulf Coast Oil spill? Here's an interesting post by Ellen Kanner at Huffington Post:

...Jason got the Golden Fleece, but was so ruthless, he managed to piss off people, gods and his metaphorical mother. Jason didn't honor the Argo, he didn't take care of it and it lay rotting -- and plotting -- in the sun. One day, Jason passed by and a piece of the prow fell off and beaned him on the head, killing him...We don't want the same fate. But we've been ruthless and greedy and will most likely continue to be. Most of us aren't going to row to work, give up our cars or even convert to clean energy any time soon. But rather than further risking the earth's wrath, one thing we can all do -- herbivores and omnivores alike -- is buy and eat food that's local and in season.

Some of the enemies of our Mother Earth are indeed as immense as the mythological challenges Jason faced. But Jason (like many heroes of Pagan mythology) often used his wits to overcome obstacles. Making the right choices in our lives (such as diet) can not only have health benefits, but has a disproportionally positive impact on the environment. Yet, as the article points out, we can't just rest on our laurels (heh!) Btw, there's a great recipe for "Braim" in the article...Yum!

(Thanx GreenGhost, for sending me this)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Possible new Necropolis found

Greco-Roman mummy, tombs uncovered in Egypt oasis
New mummies found! Yeah:

(Reuters) - Egyptian archaeologists carrying out excavations at the site of a planned youth center have found 14 tombs dating back to the third century BC, including one with a female mummy adorned with jewelry.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Steve Irwin must be rolling in his grave!

Sarah Palin hosting a wildlife show on the Discovery Channel? When I first heard that, I thought it was something that belonged in the hoax archive at Snopes. But no, it's true.

It's dumbfounding that a network whose programing centers so much on science and the environment would provide a venue for such a polarizing figure, more concerned with spouting falsehoods to cement her "maverick" reputation and double her speaking fees.

As recently pointed out in a stinging commentary by Rachel Maddow (short version and transcript here, extended video here), there's alarming growth in a particular form of political dialog which relies on easily demonstrable falshood. For example, Palin and other opponents of Health Insurance reform have touted "death panels" (no such thing exists) and "a government takeover of health care" In fact, there's nothing even remotely "death panel" in the bill. As to a 'takeover' of heath care'--there's not even a public option in the legislation!

What the hell is going on here? Does the Discovery Channel feel it's too left-leaning in its programming? True, some people out there feel facts have a liberal bias. Maybe we need some shows produced by the Creation Museum?

If you wish to get involved, Defenders of Wildlife and ThePetitionSite have online petitions voicing strong concern about TLC/Discovery Channel's programming.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Visit to the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary

A group of us (including GreenGhost) spent a great day this weekend at the Woodstock Animal Sanctuary, just outside of Woodstock, NY. From the website:

...Surrounded by the Catskill Mountains in the town made famous for peace and music, Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary provides shelter to cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, sheep, goats, rabbits, ducks and geese who have been rescued from cases of abuse, neglect and abandonment...

One of the most amazing things was how friendly the animals were. Once they get liberated from factory farm situations--or some other horribly abusive situation--they soon recognise humans as their friends. Check out "The Tale of Two Piggies" to get an idea of the great work the folks at the WFAS are doing:

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Samantha, please blink this AWAY!

Turning the Witch-Hunter into a Hero

I saw this on WildHunt. The plot for a potential (in development) film depicts Witch-hunters as heroes:

...The protagonist is one of the last remaining witch hunters, a breed that keeps the population of witches and warlocks in check. They are about to repopulate in a major way unless he can stop them...

Jason at WildHunt rightfully comments:

...So let me get this straight, the historical figures who tortured, killed, and accused innocent men and women of being “witches” and “warlocks” are being revamped as broody anti-heroes trying to save humanity from real-live witches? What’s next? A film where heroic cops raid gay bars for the good of America? Films set in the old west where Native Americans are turned into villains again and again...?

Elizabeth Montgomery must be spinning in her grave.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Hammer of the Gods

After a long day at work, finding this in my inbox brightened my day. Heh! This was sent by my friend and fellow Pagan, musician Bill Brovold. You can find out more about his music here and here. Thanx, Bill.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Casaubon's plants to grow

25 Plants you should consider growing
I have not been over to Scienceblogs in a while, having grown tired of the Neo-atheist dogma. But you should really check out Casaubon's blog, especially if you are interested in environmental issues and trying to order adapt yourself to an earth-friendly lifestyle. Here's an example from her list of recommended plants for your edible garden:

...3. Blueberries. If there was ever an ornamental edible, this is it. A prettier shrub than privet or most common privacy hedge plants, it produces berries and turns as flaming red as any burning bush in the autumn. I have no idea why more people don't landscape with blueberries. Add to that the fact that blueberries have more antioxidants than most other foods and unlike other good for you crops, will be eaten by the bucketfull by kids. They do need acidic soil, but there are blueberries for all climates. Definitely worth replacing your shrubs with blueberries if you can...

How true. I have 3 plants of a dwarf variety growing in my front yard. But I'm thinking of getting some full-size plants. I agree with most items on her list, such as rhubarb and potatoes. But she does include some odd-balls, like rice. Rice! Seriously?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Purrrrfect Discovery

Cat Goddess Bastet Temple: Egypt Announces Find Of Ancient Temple

The Temple of Bast in Alexandria has been discovered:

Mohammed Abdel-Maqsood, the Egyptian archaeologist who led the excavation team, said the discovery may be the first trace of the long-sought location of Alexandria's royal quarter. The large number of statues depicting Bastet found in the ruins, he said, suggested that this may be the first Ptolemaic-era temple dedicated to the cat goddess to be discovered in Alexandria. This would indicate that the worship of the ancient Egyptian cat-goddess continued during the later, Greek-influenced, Ptolemaic period, he said. Statues of other ancient Egyptian deities were also found in the ruins, he added.