So How Can You Tell Mayan Bollocks From Ordinary Bollocks?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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The answer to the question in the title is, of course, you can’t. Bollocks is bollocks no matter from which race, religion, continent or country it comes from, or in what language.

I tried, and tried hard, but I couldn’t let Friday’s non-event go by without a word or several about the Mayans and particularly about the dipsticks who thought they had interpreted the Mayan calendar.

By the way “the Mayan Calendar” is an anagram of “deny earth almanac” so that in itself should have told them something.

But no, in the best bollocks-brain tradition that also brought us ‘the Y2K crisis that never was’ and that never made any sense either, we have been subjected for months and years now to all this end of the world malarkey from so-called learned scholars who knew such a lot about such a little they might as well have known nothing about anything at all. Plus, they have not an atom of common sense between them!  

Mayan End Of The World Miscalculation

There’s a fasab rule that there are none so dumb as those who think they are smart. I suppose that’s my take on “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing”. Happily I have been blessed with the ability to recognize that there are at least a trillion things that I don’t know for every little thing that I do know. I have also learned not to jump to conclusions when there is precious little evidence to support them.

So here’s the story.

We all know by now that the Mayans carved a calendar into a big round stone and that some self-important smart asses tried to decipher it and came to the conclusion that, because the calendar apparently stops at Dec 21, 2012, that is the date when the world must end.

Mayan Calendar cartoon

That’s a bit like munching your way through a bar of chocolate, looking at the empty wrapper and deciding that there will be no more bars of chocolate ever! (Now THAT would be the end of the world!)

There could have been lots of reasons why the Mayan calendar ended on that date (if indeed it did) but they were either dismissed or, much more likely, never even considered. None of them fit with dipstick logic.

For example,

  • the wee-calendar-carver-man-person may have keeled over and died without passing on his ‘magic formula’ to a successor.
  • he may just have got pissed off with the job and stopped.
  • he could have broken his chisel.  
  • he might have whacked himself on the thumb with his hammer.
  • he could have continued his work on a second stone that nobody has found yet.
  • or he may have been the Mayan equivalent of the modern day dipsticks who tried to interpret it and really did think the world was going to end on that date.

mayan cartoon

It’s not the fact that we have these ‘end of the world’ morons and their equally moronic pronouncements about the apocalypse that annoys me. It’s the utterly depressing fact that no matter how insanely stupid their ideas are there are always hoards of other morons willing to believe them.

How sad is that?

And it has been going on for thousands of years.

A Roman priest and theologian in the second and third centuries, predicted Christ would return in A.D. 500. His calculations were based on the dimensions of Noah’s ark!

In the year 999, despite the fact that there weren’t any of the events required by the Bible transpiring at that time, there was almost hysteria over the return of Christ with all members of society seemingly affected by the prediction that it would happen on January 1, 1000 AD.

In 1186 the “Letter of Toledo” warned everyone to hide in the caves and mountains. The world would be destroyed and only a few would be spared.

In 1420 the Taborites of Czechoslovakia predicted every city would be annihilated by fire. Only five mountain strongholds would be saved.

Also around the same time someone called ‘Mother Shipton’ claimed the world would end 400 years later in 1881.

In 1666 the bubonic plague outbreak killed 100,000 Londoners and, along with the Great Fire of London during the same year, made the world ending likely to most. The fact that the year ended with the Beast’s number (666), didn’t help sanity to prevail either.

By 1809 things were getting really silly. A woman fortune teller, named Mary Bateman, had a magic chicken that laid eggs with end time messages on them. However the uproar she created was ended abruptly when an unannounced visitor caught her forcing a magic egg up the hen’s ass! She was later was hanged for poisoning a wealthy client.

William Miller founded an end-times movement that became known as ‘Millerism’. He determined that the second coming would happen sometime between 1843-1844. A spectacular meteor shower in 1833 gave the movement a good push forward and the anticipation continued to build up until March 21, 1844, when Miller’s one year time table ran out.

In 1874 the Jehovah’s Witnesses were getting in on the fun, but failed. They also struck out in 1878 and 1881. Charles Taze Russell then predicted the Rapture in 1910, followed by the ‘End of the World’ in 1914. He later reinterpreted this as the ‘invisible’ return of Christ when the world ignored him and continued. The Witnesses had no better luck with predictions for 1918, or 1925, or 1957, or 1975, or 1994. Amazingly, the failure of every one of their forecasts has not affected the growth of the movement, the Watchtower magazine, a major Witness periodical, having apparently over 13 million subscribers worldwide.

Then the revisit of Haley’s comet was, for many, an indication of the Lord’s second coming. The earth actually passed through the gaseous tail of the comet. One of the few sane people of the time was enterprising enough to sell ‘comet pills’ to people for protection against the effects of the toxic gases.

1960 was the date chosen by Piazzi Smyth, a past astronomer royal of Scotland, whose 1860 book titled “Our Inheritance in the Great Pyramid” both predicted that year as the date of the new millennium and  was responsible for spreading the belief in pyramidology throughout the world.

1962 saw Pope John XXIII contributing to the madness, predicting that visitors from outer space would arrive in chariots of flaming steel and would share their advanced knowledge with humanity. Our life span would be increased to 150 years or longer and most diseases would be wiped out.

In 1967 when the city of Jerusalem was reclaimed by the Jews, prophecy watchers declared that the ‘Time of the Gentiles’ had come to an end.

By the mid 1970s it was the turn of the late Moses David (formerly David Berg) founder of ‘The Children of God’ to predict that a comet would hit the earth, and destroy all life in the United States.

Then a group called the ‘Tara Centers’ placed full-page advertisements in many major newspapers for the weekend of April 24-25, 1982, announcing “The Christ is Now Here!” and predicting that he would make himself known “within the next two months.” After the date passed, they said that the delay was only because the “consciousness of the human race was not quite right…” in other words, all our fault, not theirs!

In 1983, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, Guru of the Rajneesh movement also predicted massive destruction on earth, including natural disasters and man-made catastrophes. Floods larger than any since Noah, extreme earthquakes, very destructive volcano eruptions, nuclear wars etc. would be experienced. Tokyo, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Bombay would all disappear. To the best of my knowledge they are all still around although Bombay did have a makeover name change. .

In 1991 Nation of Islam Leader, Louis Farrakhan, proclaimed the Gulf War would to be “the War of Armageddon … the final War.” Wrong!

In 1992, we had the whacko in Waco. David Koresh and his Branch Davidian group change the name of their commune from Mt. Carmel to Ranch Apocalypse, because of his belief that the final all-encompassing battle of Armageddon mentioned in the Bible would start at the Branch Davidian compound. They had calculated that the end would occur in 1995. After a 51-day standoff, on April 10,1993, they did have their own mini apocalypse when 76 members died as a result of a deliberately set fire.

Also in 1992 Lee Jang Rim started a church called, “Mission For The Coming Days”. Using numerology as the basis for his chosen date, the cult (no spelling error) looked forward to the Second Coming believing that Jesus would return through Sydney Harbour! An hour after the appointed prediction time the cult leaders ran for it, hiding their faces from reporters. One reporter was punched. Some disappointed members committed suicide, probably because they had given all their worldly assets to Lee Jang Rim who was later jailed for two years for embezzling 4.4 million dollars from 10,000 of his cult followers. Ironically Lee Jang Rim had used the money to buy bonds that matured AFTER the end of the world! You gotta laugh!

Pastor John Hinkle of Christ Church Los Angels also caused quite a stir when he announced he had received a vision from God that warned of an apocalyptic event on June 9th, 1994. Hinkle, quoting God, said, “On Thursday June the 9th, I will rip the evil out of this world.” Nope, didn’t happen either.

Then Harold Camping in his book “Are You Ready?” predicted the Lord’s return in September 1994. The book was full of methods that added up Bible numbers up to 1994 as the date of Christ’s return. Of course it was nonsense, but proving that you can’t keep a good man down, he was at it again in 2011, when he pronounced that May 21 that year would be ‘Judgment day’. Needless to say he was wrong again!

In 1993, when Rabin and Arafat signed their peace pact on the White House lawn on September 13, some saw the events as the beginning of the tribulation. With the signing of the peace agreement Daniel’s 1260 day countdown was underway and by adding 1260 days to September, 1993 they came to February 24, 1997 as the fateful day.

The July 29, 1997 an issue of the ‘Weekly World News’ carried a statement by a spokesperson of the ‘International Association of Psychics’ which said that 92% of their 120,000 members had had the same “end time” vision. War, pestilence, and a worldwide plague were among the predicted events which would see the end of mankind by around the year 2001. So much for psychics!

Also around 1997 a group called the ‘Sacerdotal Knights of National Security’ reported that “A space alien captured at a UFO landing site in eastern Missouri cracked under interrogation by the CIA and admitted that an extraterrestrial army will attack Earth on November 27 with the express purpose of stripping our planet of every natural resource they can find a use for — and making slaves of every man, woman and child in the world!”

Then, because 666 times three equals 1998, that year saw another spasm of end of the world predictions. For example, a Taiwanese cult operating out of Garland Texas predicted Christ would return on March 31, 1998. The group’s leader, Heng-ming Chen, announced God would return, and then invite the cult members aboard a UFO. However, the group had to abandon their second coming prediction when a precursor event failed to take place. The cult’s leader said God would appear on every channel 18 of every TV in the world, but as one commentator concluded, perhaps God realized at the last minute that the Playboy Network was channel 18 on several cable systems, and he didn’t want to have Christians watching a porn channel.

Also in 1998 the famous psychic, Edgar Cayce, predicted that a secret, underground chamber would be discovered between the paws of the Great Sphinx and that inside there would be documents revealing the history of Atlantis. This revelation would trigger the Second Coming of Christ. This prediction is more interesting than most because two independent studies have revealed that there is in fact an underground structure just where Cayce said it would be!

The wonderfully and appropriately named ‘Church of the Subgenius’ predicted that on “X Day”, July 5, 1998, the end of the world would occur. At that time, “the Men from Planet X, or XISTS, will arrive on Earth, close a deal with “Bob,” rapture the card-carrying Ordained SubGenii up to the Escape Vessels of the Sex Goddesses, and destroy the remaining population of Earth, VERY VERY SLOWLY.” In case you are wondering, ‘Bob’ is J.R. Dobbs, leader and High Epopt of the Church of the SubGenius, Living Avatar of Slack, the Saint of Sales. You couldn’t make it up!

The new millennium year of 2000 produced an upsurge in end of the world predictions. When none of that came true some of them regrouped and hit on the ‘no year zero’ excuse, pushing their doomsday date out to 2001. Nope. Wrong again!

A few years later, Shelby Corbett, of Bradenton, Florida put up benches throughout the town advertising that the rapture will happen in 2007! She had little Biblical knowledge but conveniently had a book out pushing the same information.

Then Arnie Stanton noted on September 16, 1997 that that evening was the fourth Jewish festival since April 3, 1996 when a lunar eclipse had occurred. He quoted Luke 21:25-26 which mentions “signs in the sun, in the moon and in the stars and on the earth distress of nations” and decided  that “these recent lunar eclipses are the last known astronomical signs that will precede a 7 year (360 day/year) countdown to Armageddon/Christ’s return to the Earth.” Arnie expected that Christ’s return would occur within a few months of September 29, 2004 when Asteroid Toutatis made a very close approach to the Earth. Afraid not Arnie.

On April 17, 2008 Ronald Weinland travelled to Jerusalem and announced that he and his wife were the two witnesses of Revelation. The title of his book, “If it doesn’t come to pass…starting in April, then I’m nothing but a false prophet…” said it all.

And then we had the Mayan calendar nonsense, which brings me back to where this post started. It turned out to be a bit longer than I had intended, but I wanted to give you a flavor of the idiots that are out there, all with equally idiotic followers. And this is just a few of many, many more examples.

So is there an answer?

Well yes there is. And it’s pretty simple. Just do three things, (a) don’t listen to self-important academics and scientists who clearly don’t know what they are talking about. (b) treat others the way you like to be treated yourself, and providing you are reasonably normal and not some kind of kinky masochist, then that yardstick should do fine; and (c) don’t worry about the end of the world, you can’t do anything about it anyway, I mean where are you going to go?  

THE END (of the post, just the post!)

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Significant Number Factoid Friday – Today The Number Twenty-Three 23

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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They’ve been ‘beautiful’,  they’ve been ‘big’  and they’ve been ‘unusual’.  Today we have ‘significant’ number, twenty-three, 23, so-called because of its use and the beliefs surrounding it.

Enjoy.

 

Twenty-three

23 sign

Until the recent Jim Carey movie that highlighted the Discordian fascination with the idea that everything that happens on earth and in all of existence is somehow related to the number 23, that number was really only of significance to a few conspiracy theorists.

Jim Carey movie '23'

Discordia is a rather rare belief that is based on the study of random events and numbers. The number 23 is sacred because it belongs to a Greek Goddess named Eris. She is the Goddess of Chaos and her followers practice a form of ritual worship called chaos magic.

 

In Religion

  • Although the Old Testament is unspecific, it is widely held that Adam and Eve had 23 daughters;
  • The 23rd verse of the first chapter of Genesis brings the act of creation to a close;
  • the 23rd chapter of the book of Genesis deals entirely with death, namely that of Abraham’s wife, Sarah;
  • The 23rd Psalm alao known as ‘the psalm of David’, and even better known to many by its first line ‘The Lord Is My Shepherd’ is the most famous and most quoted of the Psalms;
  • The Ancient Egyptians hailed the New Year on July 23 – the day Sirius rises behind the sun;
  • According to ancient Mayan prophesy on December 23, 2012 the world will end;
  • In Islam, the Qur’an was revealed in a total of 23 years to Muhammad;
  • Muslims believe the first verses of the Qur’an were revealed to the Islamic prophet Muhammad, on the 23rd night of the 9th Islamic month.

 

 

In Maths

  • 23 is the lowest prime that consists of consecutive digits that are also primes;
  • Prime numbers have been described as being the building blocks of the world of numbers and therefore also the building blocks of the reality that we experience;
  • The Birthday Paradox states that a group of 23 randomly-selected people is the smallest number where there will be a probability higher than 50 per cent that two people will share the same birthday.

 

Graphical representation of the Birthday Paradox
Graphical representation of the Birthday Paradox

In Metaphysics

  • The number 23 has also been studied by many great metaphysicists, including Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson who wrote three books about the number. The number is seen by these authors as being the key to illumination and they also claim that major shifts in collective consciousness and world events can be seen in each cycle of 23 years.

 

In Love

  • Twenty three is also a significant number in love. This is because in ancient China, the number two was assigned a feminine role and the number three was given a masculine role. The number 23 then became to symbolize marriage, procreation, and progeny.

 love 23

In Psychology

  • The great psychologist and anthropologist Carl Jung also thought that the number 23 was special and defined it as a number of synchronicity.

 

In Politics

  • The 23rd President of the United States was Benjamin Harrison (1833–1901). Served as President from March 4, 1889 to March 4, 1893.   Party – Republican.  VP – Levi P. Morton;
Benjamin Harrison 23rd President of the United States of America
Benjamin Harrison 23rd President of the United States of America
  •  The Twenty-third Amendment (Amendment XXIII) to the United States Constitution permits citizens in the District of Columbia to vote for Electors for President and Vice President. The amendment was proposed by Congress on June 17, 1960, and ratified by the states on March 29, 1961. The first Presidential election in which it was in effect was the presidential election of 1964. Prior to the passage of the amendment, residents of Washington, D.C. were forbidden from voting for President or Vice President as the District is not a U.S. state. However, they are still unable to send voting Representatives or Senators to Congress.

 

In Space

  • The tilt of Earth’s axis is roughly 23o accounting for the changing seasons and the procession of the Zodiac;
  • The first Apollo landing on the moon was at 23.63 degrees east; the second was 23.42 degrees west;
  • On July 23, 1996 the “Mysterious Eyes” of comet Hale-Bopp are first sighted.

 

In Militaria

  • The most famous aircraft with the 23 designation is the Russian Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23 also known by the NATO reporting name ‘Flogger’.
  • It is a third generation variable-geometry fighter aircraft, and was the first attempt by the Soviet Union to design look-down/shoot-down radar and one of the first to be armed with beyond visual range missiles. It was also the first MiG production fighter aircraft to have intakes at the sides of the fuselage.
  • Production started in 1970 and reached large numbers with over 5,000 aircraft built. Today the MiG-23 remains in limited service with various export customers.
Mig-23
Mig-23
  • In America, the Northrop YF-23 or Northrop–McDonnell Douglas YF-23 was a less commercially successful single-seat, twin-engine fighter aircraft designed for the United States Air Force (USAF). The design was a finalist in the USAF’s Advanced Tactical Fighter (ATF) competition, battling the Lockheed YF-22 (developed by Lockheed, Boeing and General Dynamics) for a production contract. Two YF-23 prototypes were built with the nicknames “Black Widow II” and “Gray Ghost”.
  • Although the YF-23 was stealthier and faster, but less agile than its competition. After a four-year development and evaluation process, the YF-22 was announced the winner in 1991 and entered production as the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor.
  • The U.S. Navy considered using the production version of the ATF as the basis for a replacement to the F-14, but these plans were later canceled. As of 2009, the two YF-23 prototypes were museum exhibits.
Northrop–McDonnell Douglas YF-23, nicknamed Gray Ghost (foreground), flying with YF-23 Black Widow II
Northrop–McDonnell Douglas YF-23,  nicknamed Gray Ghost (foreground), with YF-23 Black Widow II

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  • On the ground the Soviet ZU-23-2 anti-craft gun was developed in the late 1950s. It was designed to engage low-flying targets at a range of 2.5 km as well as armoured vehicles at a range of 2 km and for direct defense of troops and strategic locations against air assault usually conducted by helicopters and low-flying airplanes.
  • In the Soviet Union, some 140,000 units were produced. The ZU-23 has also been produced under licence by Bulgaria, Poland, Egypt and the People’s Republic of China.
  • Development of this weapon into a self-propelled anti-aircraft gun (SPAAG) led to the ZSU-23-4 Shilka. (see below)
The ZU-23-2 in Saint Petersburg
The ZU-23-2 in Saint Petersburg
  • However, the best known piece of ground militaria is probably the  ZSU-23-4 “Shilka” is a lightly armored, self-propelled, radar guided anti-aircraft weapon system. The acronym “ZSU” stands for Zenitnaya Samokhodnaya Ustanovka, meaning “anti-aircraft self-propelled mount”. The “23” signifies the bore diameter in millimeters; the “4” signifies the number of gun barrels.
  • It is named after the Russian Shilka River. Afghan soldiers nicknamed it maszyna do szycia (sewing machine) due to the sound of firing guns and because of the similarity of the name “Shilka” to the Russian word meaning “to sew”). It is also referred to by its nickname of “Zeus”.
The ZSU 23-4 Shilka
The ZSU 23-4 Shilka

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In Sport

  • The New York Yankees won the World Series 23 times;
  • Devin Hester, whose jersey number is 23, becomes the first person to return the opening kickoff for a touchdown in a Super Bowl ( XLI );
  • Basketball legend Michael Jordan wore 23 for the Chicago Bulls; his dad was also murdered on July 23, 1993, during a botched robbery;
  • World record-breaking basketball boy wonder LeBron James also wears the number 23 shirt;
  • English soccer star David Beckham took the number 23 when he joined Real Madrid; he said it was in deference to Jordan;
  • 23 was the shirt number worn by tragic soccer player Marc-Vivien Foe when he was at Manchester City; the Cameroon international died after collapsing on the pitch during a Confederations Cup semi-final;
  • In darts, 23 is the lowest score that cannot be gained with the throw of a single dart.

 

Michael Jordan action shot in the famous # 23 shirt
Michael Jordan action shot in the famous # 23 shirt

 

In Movies and TV

  • In the film Airport, the mad bomber has seat 23;
  • In the film Airplane II, the name of the spaceship is XR-2300;
  • The original Star Trek, as well as Babylon Five are set in the 23rd century;
  • In Star Wars Princess Lea was held in cell AA-23;
  • The German movie 23 explored an obsession with the number, based on a real-life story;
  • In the Beatles film Yellow Submarine, The Butterfly Stomper, who destroys all things of beauty, wears a shirt with the number 23;
  • In Die Hard III the train derails in subway station 23.

 

 

The Darker Side

  • In the Kaballah, the Hebrew studies of gematria, the number means severity or judgment. It is associated with apocalypse. In fact, the date to beware of in the future would be the year 2023, according to that system of predictive numerology;
  • Roman Emperor Julius Caesar was stabbed 23 times when he was assassinated;
  • 230 people died in the conspiracy plagued TWA flight 800 disaster;
  • There are 23 chapters of the Cult Awareness Network;
  • THE average smoker gets through 23 cigarettes a day;
  • The Hiroshima bomb was dropped at 8.15am (8+15= 23);
  • The United States set off 23 atomic bombs at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific;
  • The Unibomber killed or wounded 23 people;
  • Rock star Kurt Cobain was born in 1967 and died in 1994. Both years bizarrely add up to 23 if counted as individual digits: 1+9+6+7=23. 1+9+9+4=23;
  • The date of the terrorist attacks on America on 11 September 2001 (9+11+2+0+0+1) add up to 23.

 

9/11 Memorial (AP photo by Mark Lennihan)
9/11 Memorial (AP photo by Mark Lennihan)

 

Other things about 23

  • Homo sapiens are given 46 chromosomes from their parents, 23 male and 23 female;
  • The human Biorhythm cycle is 23 days;
  • It takes 23 seconds for blood to circulate through the human body;
  • There are 23 joints in the human arm, and 23 vertebrae in the human body;
  • A full turn of the DNA helix occurs every 23 angstroms;
  • The first Morse code transmission is reported to have been “What hath god wrought?”, a Biblical quote from Numbers 23:23;
  • In telegraphers code 23 means “break the line”;
  • There are exactly 23 characters, numbers and letters, on the face of all U.S. coins;
  • Every 23rd wave crashing on a beach averages twice the size as normal;
  • The Latin alphabet has 23 letters;
  • Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species was published in 1859 – 1+8+5+9 = 23;
  • AOL chat rooms only allow 23 people at a time;
  • The address of the Freemasons lodge in Stafford, England, is 23 Jaol Road. In New York City it’s on 23rd street;
  • The letter ‘W‘ is the 23rd in the alphabet and has 2 points down and 3 points up;
  • US Cavalry legend General Custer was promoted to the senior military rank at the age of 23;
  • William Shakespeare was born on April 23,1556 and died on April 23, 1616; the two 23’s obviously equals 46 which was Shakespeare’s age when the KJV was published; in Psalm 46 in the KJV Bible count 46 words and you arrive at the word ‘shake’; count 46 words backwards from the end of the chapter and you end on is ‘spear’;
  • The author William Burroughs was obsessed with 23. While living in Tangiers, he met a Captain Clark who ran a ferry between Spain and Morocco. One day, Clark told Burroughs that he had been doing the route for 23 years without incident. Later that day, the ferry sank, killing the captain. While Burroughs was thinking about the incident, a radio bulletin announced the crash of a Flight 23 on the New York-Miami route. The pilot was another Captain Clark. The events prompted an obsession which saw Burroughs record every occurrence of the number 23 for the rest of his life.

 

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