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image I went to see Star Wars last night. I hadn't planned to. The plan was that I wasn't going to see any movies until my book is done, which should be in early June (hopefully). But I was at the mall with my wife, and I noticed it was playing, so I couldn't resist. I talked her into seeing it. It turned out that there was absolutely no line, and no wait of any kind. We bought our tickets one minute before the movie started, walked in, and pretty easily found seats. (and we got a matinee price because it was only 5:30!). I was surprised. I thought it would be more crowded opening night.

But apparently theaters were more crowded up in Hollywood. According to The Talent Show, there were also some protesters up there who were denouncing Star Wars as a Satanic menace. Yeah, it was a joke. These are the folks from who for years have had a spoof webpage arguing that the Force is a tool of Satan.
Categories: Entertainment, Religion
Posted by Alex on Fri May 20, 2005
Comments (21)
image Stop The Presses! The Creationists have disproven evolution! How? Because they found a fishing reel in a rock.

The 'reel in a rock' seems to have been around for quite a while, but I've only heard of it now. What a treat I've been missing. Dan Jones says that he found this thing twenty-five years ago while trout fishing. It was lying right out in the open. It's a chunk of Phyllite rock with an old fishing reel embedded in it. It's pretty obvious that someone has drilled a few holes in order to insert the reel into the rock, but the Creationists are claiming that the rock itself must have formed around the reel. To their minds, this is the only solution. They then argue that since modern geological science says this would be impossible, that Geology must be wrong. And therefore evolution is wrong! It's all so logical. The fragile edifice of modern science brought down by a fishing reel in a rock.

You can find some debunking of the 'reel in a rock' over at the Creation versus Evolution site. A geologist, Ann Holmes, who had a chance to examine the rock says:

The phyllite had saw marks in it where the flattish plate of the reel had been imbedded. Sharp-edged saw marks that would have surely weathered rounder had it been wallowed out by water around the reel. I also suspect a drill hole to hold the one round reel support imbedded as well.

The only real question is who created this hoax. (Thanks to Donald Simanek for sending me the link).
Categories: Religion, Science
Posted by Alex on Tue May 10, 2005
Comments (34)
The BBC has a slideshow of various faces seen in stuff, including the recent Underpass Mary, the Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese Sandwich, and the Chapati Jesus.
Categories: Religion
Posted by Alex on Mon Apr 25, 2005
Comments (7)
The woman who auctioned off the Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese Sandwich on eBay is now selling the 'Official Holy Pan That Made The Grilled Cheese Sandwich'.

This is not a joke. This is the Official 10 year old one of a kind Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese Sandwich Holy Pan. There is NOT Another.  I have chosen to Auction off the Holy Pan on E-Bay instead of the Auction House "Christy's of London" to give the world a chance to Bid on it.

Next, I assume, she'll be selling the 'Holy Spatula' that turned the grilled cheese sandwich, and then the 'Holy Stove' that cooked the thing. And then the 'Holy House' in which the stove was located.
Categories: eBay, Religion
Posted by Alex on Fri Apr 22, 2005
Comments (18)
Today's 'Faces Seen in Stuff' are:

1. Underpass Mary. A salt stain on the wall of an underpass in Chicago looks to many like an image of the Virgin Mary. (via Boing Boing)

2. Pope Toast: "Before we even turned on the news or opened the paper this morning, we knew that the Vatican had chosen a new pope. How? Well, as we were making toast for our breakfast, a puff of white smoke issued from the toaster. Then we were amazed to find what was surely a sign from on high: a piece of toast emblazoned with the unmistakable image of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the new Pope Benedict XVI." (submitted by frup)

3. Babe Ruth Cookie. A cookie on eBay that supposedly bears the image of Babe Ruth. To be honest, I can't see the face in this one at all.
Categories: eBay, Food, Religion
Posted by Alex on Wed Apr 20, 2005
Comments (18)
image The latest 'face seen in food' on eBay is the Pope Chicken Breast. The seller even has their own website devoted to it already. The real question is how much Golden Palace is going to pay for this thing. Here's the description of the item:

As I was about to dig into my usual lunch of my dorms "baked chicken," I quickly stopped in my tracks as my eyes met this wonderful relic. I have the utmost respect for Pope John Paul II and I could not believe the resemblance I saw between my piece of chicken breast and him. I am deeply touched that I was chosen to receive this possible visit from the Holy Father. I would now like to share this beautiful likeness of Pope John Paul II with you. And unlike all the unoriginal grilled cheese and Pope hat chips, this is the Only celebrity chicken breast on eBay at the time of listing.
Categories: eBay, Food, Religion
Posted by Alex on Mon Apr 18, 2005
Comments (19)
An email is going around that contains what is said to be John Paul II's "last rites declaration" made on April 2, 2005. Here's what he supposedly said:

"The unforgiveable sins this earth must confront and overcome are Nationalism, capitalism, and hoarding. The idea of every nation should be forgot, price should be struck from the commons, and princes should be seen for the devils they are. The sins include our church, secret societies, and other religions which make of the spirit of God a divide."

That would be a pretty remarkable statement for the Pope to make since it seems to promote a form of socialism. It certainly wouldn't square too comfortably with the economic policies of the Bush administration. And what's that part about 'the sins include our church' supposed to mean? The question is: did the Pope actually say it? Variations of the email state that this last rites declaration can be found on the Vatican website. However, I've been searching their website, and I can't find it anywhere. If anyone can find it, let me know. Otherwise, I'm assuming that this quotation is a hoax.
Categories: Religion
Posted by Alex on Mon Apr 11, 2005
Comments (11)
I got an email asking me if it's true that Bill Gates has converted to Islam. Seems like an odd question, but doing a google search uncovers that this rumor has been going around. Over at the Ultimate Bill Gates site you can find lots of people asking if the rumor is true (scroll down to the comments section), and the Gates of Vienna site reports getting lots of search-engine traffic from people searching for the phrase 'Bill Gates converts to Islam'. I think I've found the source of the rumor. Over at, someone posted a screenshot of an arabic-language website that supposedly has a story about Bill Gates' Islamic conversion. I don't know any Arabic, so I can't tell what the screenshot says, but assuming that the text in the screenshot does describe Gates' new-found beliefs, it must be the source of the rumor. However, I have no idea where the screenshot itself came from. Oh, and to answer the original question: No, Bill Gates has not converted to Islam.
Categories: Religion
Posted by Alex on Mon Apr 11, 2005
Comments (63)
The question that seems to be on everyone's mind is what's going on with the Pope. Why isn't his body showing signs of decomposition? He's been dead for almost a week now, and most bodies at this stage would be putrefying. But not the Pope. Has he been embalmed? The Vatican says no. But the experts seem to think that some kind of embalming, if only partial, must have occurred. Could it be that his body is being kept chilled? If so, the cooling apparatus is pretty well concealed. Or is his body 'incorruptible', meaning that it will never decompose as is said to be the case with the bodies of saints? I'm going to go with the experts and speculate that some kind of embalming must have been done, despite what the Vatican says.
Update: And while I'm on the subject of the Pope, if you feel like you have what it takes to be the next Pope, why not apply for the job. Only Roman Catholics need apply, so I'm out of luck.
Categories: Death, Religion
Posted by Alex on Fri Apr 08, 2005
Comments (43)
It's long been thought that the word Easter and the traditions we associate with it (the Easter Bunny and hiding eggs) stem from an old Germanic Saxon belief about the goddess Ostara. The Saxons believed that Ostara was sent by the Sun King during the spring to bring an end to winter. She bore a basket of colored eggs, and with the help of a magical rabbit would hide these eggs under plants and flowers to bring them new life. The name Ostara evolved into Oestre, or Easter. Turns out this legend is a hoax, at least according to University of Tasmania researcher Elizabeth Freeman. Her research indicates that the Saxons never worshipped a goddess named Ostara. Ostara was simply invented by an 8th century scholar named the Venerable Bede, apparently because he thought it was a nice story: "He has definitely made up that goddess," Dr Freeman said. "Bede is the first one to mention it. German academics have found no evidence of the spring goddess Oestre anywhere else before Bede." She theorizes that the Easter Bunny legend actually came from ancient Celtic culture, because the Celts "revered sacred hares".
Categories: History, Religion
Posted by Alex on Sun Mar 27, 2005
Comments (19)
image Have you ever wanted to fill your home with the smell of Jesus? Now it's possible. A couple of Christian entrepreneurs have bottled the smell of Jesus and put it in a candle. They're selling these candles under the brand name "His Essence". So how do they know what Jesus smelled like? Simple. Psalm 45 mentions that when Christ returns his robes will be "fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia", so knowing a great marketing opportunity when they saw one, Bob and Karen Tosterud mixed up the scent of myrrh, aloe, and cassia and put it in a candle. I suppose next there will be His Essence perfume. His Essence deodorant. What about His Essence bathroom freshener?
Categories: Religion
Posted by Alex on Fri Mar 18, 2005
Comments (23)
image In the debate about the Shroud of Turin, perhaps the strongest argument that the pro-Shroud side had going for it was that no one could figure out how a medieval forger could have created such a thing. How could the forger have etched a three-dimensional photo-negative image of a crucified man onto a piece of linen? Nathan Wilson has pretty much demolished this pro-shroud argument by showing that it would have been quite easy for a medieval forger to have done this. All he (or she, but probably he) would have needed is some white paint, a large piece of glass, and a piece of linen. You paint a figure of a man on the glass, place the glass over the linen, and leave it out in the sun for a couple of days. The sun then bleaches the material, thereby transferring a three-dimensional photo-negative image of whatever was painted on the glass onto the linen. It's one of those things that seems so obvious when you think about it, and answers so many questions about the shroud, that it has to be the solution. And yet it's taken centuries for someone to figure it out. Wilson has a great (and quite detailed) article in Christianity Today explaining how he went about solving the mystery. There's also a shorter article about Wilson's 'shadow shroud' on Finally, check out Wilson's website: The thumbnail shows a shroud-of-turin replica that Wilson created using his method.
Categories: Religion
Posted by Alex on Fri Mar 11, 2005
Comments (106)
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