Back to previous post: Torture: It’s the New Black

Go to Making Light's front page.

Forward to next post: Where the feckless pundit class comes from

Subscribe (via RSS) to this post's comment thread. (What does this mean? Here's a quick introduction.)

June 6, 2006

666
Posted by Teresa at 11:50 AM * 108 comments

Happy 06/06/06. It seems inevitable that there’s a town party today in Hell, Michigan.

Comments on 666:
#1 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 12:19 PM:

There's been a call to celebrate today as a National Day of Slayer.

#2 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 12:25 PM:

So, we get to stay home from work and watch Buffy reruns?

#3 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 12:38 PM:

And hang out here, in place of Livejournal (where the 6/6/6 protest delete-your-blog-for-a-day thing appears to be under way).

#4 ::: Sean Bosker ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 12:48 PM:

My son's birthday is 3/3/03, so somehow, today is his day.

#5 ::: Jennifer Pelland ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 12:51 PM:

I'm in my 666 finest: red shirt, black pants, black nailpolish, "DESPAIR" bracelet, and sparkly red devil horns. In deference to the big-name client in the office today, I'm taking the horns off whenever I go near the conference room. Hell, if we hadn't had a big-named client in the office today, I would have worn my Satan's Bowling League t-shirt, complete with flaming bowling pins.

#6 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 12:54 PM:

"My son's birthday is 3/3/03, so somehow, today is his day."

Ah. He must be the demi-christ.

#7 ::: Mary R ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 12:56 PM:

If you are a crafty type, a trip to The Anti-Craft might be in order to honor the day.

Got to love a site that calls their advanced beginner knitter skill level "MoonPrincess RavenDark." Methinks my niece is going to get the "Snowball's Chance in Hell" fingerless armwarmers for Xmas this year.

#8 ::: Tim Kyger ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 01:17 PM:

I was -- and I am totally serious here -- under the impression that current scholarship, new documents, and better translations had determined that the number cited in "Revelations" was *actually* "616." Really.

Am I that naive? Or is this indeed the case?

This *is*, BTW, the area code for Hell, Michigan. Coincidence?

Connect the dots, people.

#9 ::: Scorpio ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 01:18 PM:

And the KC Science Fiction Society is having a mass visit to the theatre to see The Omen -- with a Damien Birthday Party before the showing. Devil horn hats welcome, as well as perverse t-shirts.

#10 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 01:27 PM:

Tim, my NewRSV bible has that one in the footnotes.

#11 ::: shawna ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 01:42 PM:

My youngest son turned 4 on 4/4/4... I'm thinking of those having babies today... stuck with a birthdate of 6/6/6 for the rest of your life, ouch.

#12 ::: Elaine ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 01:53 PM:

I just read this hilarious 666 post -- about the Devil and his bad spelling...

http://www.citizenofthemonth.com/2006/06/06/the-joy-of-666/


Elaine

#13 ::: Mikael Johansson ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 01:53 PM:

Hey - it's a national holiday like any other; I don't see what the big deal is. ;)

Which? the US-centric may ask. To this, I but answer Sweden

#14 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 01:57 PM:

...better translations had determined that the number cited in "Revelations" was *actually* "616." Really.

Alternative documents have been discovered, yes, that suggest the correct talmudic code works out to 616.

I was listening to A Scholar today who explained that the reference in Revelations to a man whose name is "666", or, you know, whatever, was probably a reference to a real, live, breathing human being who was behaving in a Beastly Manner at the time.

That person would be: the Emperor Nero hisself, whose name in Aramaic, Neron Caesar (or something like that), applying the correct numeric values for each of the letters, comes out to 666. As a bonus, he said if you spell his name a different (but equally correct) way, the tot board comes out to 616.

When Nero croaked and the world had still not ended, I guess people sort of forgot about the fact that he was the Beast whose mark was 666 (or, you know, whatever) and so people had to start (and keep) looking around for other Beasts whose mark was 666. Ronald Wilson Reagan being one recent, notable example.

#15 ::: Sean Bosker ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 02:18 PM:

"Ah. He must be the demi-christ."

I refer to him as the neighbor of the beast. Three stories down, across the hall.

#16 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 02:22 PM:

The translation I saw was always "six hundred, three score and six".

I looked it up after finishing Heinlein's Number of the Beast with the 6 [exp]6 [exp] 6 bit in there.

I have the greatest respect for SOME of Heinlein's writings.

#17 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 02:25 PM:

The Slayer site says that 6/6/06 comes around once a millennium. Um...once a century, surely?

Today's my brother's birthday. Must remember to call him.

#18 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 02:40 PM:

Maybe I'm an old grinchy pedant, but I can't get too excited about this.  It's 6/6/06, not 666, after all;  and it's a date, not a number;  so all the fuss is a bit far-fetched, seems to me.

OK, OK, I know, it's just fun...  :)

#19 ::: Kevin Andrew Murphy ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 02:44 PM:

I had a friend in high school who was born on 6/6/66 and was proudly in the running to be the anti-christ. As she said, "Why can't the anti-christ be a girl?"

So Damien is now supposed to be born today, then has the screaming monkey scene sometime five years in the future?

Has anyone seen "The Omen" versions of the "Got Milk?" commercials? Where Damien warns everyone to not eat the cake, not because it's poisoned, but because it turns out they're out of milk?

Anyway, hoping that release of the Omen remake ups the chance of "Good Omens" being made.

#20 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 02:49 PM:

Some people are taking this far too seriously

#21 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 02:51 PM:

And the interest rate is now 6.66 percent.

Signs and portents.

#22 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 02:55 PM:

To get really pedantic, it's 06/06/06 today. And there's one in every century.

#23 ::: Mary Aileen Buss ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 03:05 PM:

Fragano Ledgister: I think that article was just an excuse to use the word 'hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia'.

--Mary Aileen

#24 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 03:07 PM:

Recently someone sent me |: a forward of :| an email saying it was some date and time where all the numbers were consecutive, I can't remember the details, with the notation "this will never happen again." I replied saying "Guess what, it's 3:05 on March 12, 2006" (or whatever it was) "and that will never happen again either!"

It's the sofa king effect. "Sofa king what?" I hear you ask, and I reply "Exactly."

#25 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 03:09 PM:

Today's my mother-in-law's birthday, so we'll be going out to dinner to celebrate.

#26 ::: Tom Scudder ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 03:10 PM:

Re: day of the slayer: watch the video here, because, hey, godawful 80s fashion disasters and really strange choreography. Then rewind it to 51 seconds. Who's that?

#27 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 03:11 PM:

Mary Aileen Buss: Of course, Satanists would be enjoying 'hexakosioihexekontahexaphilia'.

#28 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 03:18 PM:

It seems somehow apropos to mention that an admin assistant in my company (now moved on to...other employment) requested that her phone extension be changed because it was "666". I don't know how many of my colleagues volunteered to trade with her, but I suspect the number was non-zero.

#29 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 03:34 PM:

I have seen house numbers that were changed by request because the original was, or included as a part, '666'. I don't recall that Revelation include addresses as part of its number-of-the-beast thing; I think it's pretty much superstitious over-reaction.

#30 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 03:42 PM:

I've had my bill at a take-out food joint come to $6.66, and had the counterperson discount it by a penny without being asked. In earlier days I had someone ask me to charge her an EXTRA penny for a bill of the same amount.

People are funny.

#31 ::: Chryss ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 03:43 PM:

I would have traded with her in a heartbeat. I used to live at '777' (Name of Street), which of course meant someone inevitably sang me the Pixies song "This Monkey's Gone to Heaven."

If man is five, if man is five, if man is five...
Then the devil is six. The devil is six, the devil is six. The devil is six.
And if the devil is six...then G-D is SEVEN! Then G-D is SEVEN!

Repeat until you're sick of the Pixies.

#32 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 04:54 PM:

Whooo!

Patrick Farley comes out of hiding on 6/6/6 to note that an amendment with a strict definition of marriage would make illegal an important end-times event:

http://pfarley.livejournal.com/

#33 ::: Ken Josenhans ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 05:38 PM:

Hell is waiting 90 minutes in line so your carpooler can get the souvenir T-shirt.

Hell, Michigan, is on the way between home and work, if we take the really really scenic route. It's not much of a town, with just three businesses. My carpooler Steve announced yesterday that we should stop in, so we could say we'd been in Hell on 6/6/06. The Screams store, which sells ice cream and Hell kitsch, was not prepared for the crush. There were about 50 people in front of us in the line at about 9:30 am, and more were pouring in behind us all the time. And it appeared that the T-shirts were late in arriving, as the line didn't move until some guys showed up with cartons. (And then they were having trouble with their Visa phone line, which dropped the authorization attempt every time someone called the store asking for information.)

While we were waiting in line, the guy from Fox Channel 2 (Detroit Fox affiliate) did a couple of feeds right next to us, and Steve and I were picked up as the camera scanned the line. On the first feed, the reporter held up a large thermometer and reported, reasonably correctly, that the temperature in Hell was 82 F. Apparently that wasn't sexy enough; for the second feed, somehow they gimmicked the thermometer and announced and displayed a temperature in Hell of 100 F. The Fox team also had a dry-ice machine to try and juice up the visuals with a little fog. There's undoubtedly a moral in here somewhere.

Lots of media people, both print and TV; a mix of bikers, kids in goth-ish looking clothes, and middle-aged to elderly folks. Lots of red posters for the movie THE OMEN. After FINALLY getting the T-shirts, Steve and I wandered over to the Dam Site Inn for a late brunch: they weren't staffed to handle the crowds either. We got the day's special: pulled pork BBQ, fries and drink for $6.66. (Frankly, the steakburgers we saw delivered to other tables looked better.) When we left shortly before noon, some loud rock music had started up, and we found parked cars lining the two-lane road for quite some distance. I imagine the party will get pretty crazy later tonight. The authorities had stationed a fire engine & paramedics there, and police cars cruised by in a non-threatening way.

You can find the T-shirt design on Ebay, if you are curious.

I hate to correct the esteemed Mr. Kyger. I am not certain what the area code of Hell is, but I'm sure that it is not 616; that area code is the western edge of Michigan, way west of Hell. Most likely Hell is in the 734 area code, along with the neighboring village of Pinckney.

-- Live (almost!) from Hell, this is Ken Josenhans, for MAKING LIGHT

#34 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 05:42 PM:

"Live (almost!) from Hell, this is Ken Josenhans, for MAKING LIGHT"

Hey, tape delay is OK; we're used to it out here in Hawai'i.

#35 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 05:47 PM:

Ken Josenhans, as I live and breathe! Welcome! Hey, everybody, this is Ken, who used to be OE of ALPS, the only APA I ever joined (remember APAs? Those were the days).

Folks, Ken is cool people. Ken, these folks are cool too. But you knew that.

#36 ::: Things That Ain't So ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 06:02 PM:

And they just HAD to bring back "The Omen." They just had to. Ick, ick, ick.

The schools around here are all responding to called-in threats, bomb warnings, etc. Some folks are cashing in on the "fun" as the deem it, while others seem to feel it's their duty to make 666 a truly devilish day.

Twenty 666 days have come and gone since the Christian calendar was implemented (with its occasional variations) and on none of them has the world ended. Amazing that there are people who are sure that THIS is at last THE ONE. Uh, huh. Just like Y2K was the end of the world, too. Yah.

#37 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 06:03 PM:

We still have to haze him, Xopher.

Hey, did anyone remember to bring the Kim Chi, a rubber sheet, and a pangolin?

#38 ::: Christine ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 06:07 PM:

It's only 6/6/06 if you follow the Julian calendar. If you were to use the old Gregorian calendar, are Chinese or Hebrew, it's not even close.

What happens now? It's 6:06 on 6/6/06.
Nope, still here.

#39 ::: pat greene ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 06:09 PM:

And tonight... the Angels play the Devil Rays. Even though they play each other several times a year I have a pretty good idea that the timing on this was not coincidental, given that the MLB website has an article today titled Ominous Meeting on 6/6/06.

Being a Devil Rays fan, I'm inordinately pleased by this.

#40 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 06:10 PM:

Of course you know that there IS a Route 666. But don't look for street signs that say so. And if you ask the locals, they'll refer to it as Route 999.

#41 ::: Mary Aileen Buss ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 06:26 PM:

Um, Christine, I think you have that backwards. The current calendar is the Gregorian; the Julian calendar was (is) the old one.

--Mary Aileen

#42 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 06:35 PM:

We are not three numbers, we are three free men.

And Interstate 666 would be a loop/orbital/ring road . . . you know, Purgatory.

We could spend a whole lot of time on the Interpretation of Secret Signs by people whose interpreters are missing a few key case statements and use what might colloquially be called the Doo-Doo While operation, but it would be contrary to the genial holiday spirit already evoked.

#43 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 06:36 PM:

Christine : June 06, 2006, 06:07 PM: What happens now? It's 6:06 on 6/6/06.
Nope, still here.

I had been thinking that "6:06 on 6/6/06 -0600" was the most perfect statement (one more "6") but then realized that my attempt to grab perfection for myself was doomed, because it's stupid DST out there. MDT gets the honors, not CST, which is where I still am mentally.


#44 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 07:58 PM:

pat greene, a Devil Rays fan?

My sympathies.

#45 ::: Jonathan Shaw ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 08:06 PM:

Some time in the last couple of weeks, a ML commenter said something to the effect that if you're in a political movement and find that you get along just fine with everyone in it, then you've already lost. It may have been an original remark, or may have been quoting a piece of wisdom from somewhere else. Try as I may I can't find it. Can anyone help?

#46 ::: pat greene ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 08:35 PM:

Linkmeister,

Thanks for the sympathy. My major consolation is that people used to say that about being a Buccaneers fan, too, but they don't anymore. That, and the Royals are much worse this year than we are.

#47 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 08:51 PM:

Tim, I'm pretty sure 616 is not the area code for Hell, Michigan. Here's an area code map for Michigan, and here's Wikipedia's page for Hell, MI, with a map that shows it as too far east for 616.

#48 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 08:58 PM:

I read a CNN article about all the women trying to put off giving birth today.....although I don't know why. If it was me (and I'm sadly regretting the missed opportunities of October 6th, 2005) I wouldn't be putting it off. What with bearing the anti-Christ and all, I'd also have all the attention of the doctors at t he hospital with none of the other mortal women to distract them.

#49 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 09:17 PM:

"the Royals are much worse this year than we are."

Talk about cursed. Ever since Ewing Kaufman died that franchise has been miserable.

And after all, you could have it worse: you could be a Marlins fan and watch the owners restart their win-sell-rebuild cycle every couple of years.

#51 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 09:26 PM:

Stefan, strangely enough, I was eating kim-chi when a perfect stranger in the restaurant with me saw my WHC06 totebag hanging off the back of my chair and proceeded to tell me all about this Omen remake and why it's awesome that they're doing it and when it's going to be released, on 6/6/06 isn't that perfect?! My response: "Oh, THAT'S what those posters I keep seeing are all about!" So sue me, I'm slow on the uptake and undereducated in The Horror Canon.

I'm planning to see it Thursday with the hubby. Should I not bother? Should I bring kim-chi?

#52 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 09:54 PM:

Y'know, I don't remember people fussing about "666" so much back on 6/6/66...

The only bad thing to happen to me today was being subjected to seeing Ann Coulter, dressed as a slut, on morning TV at 7:15 to flog her book. I couldn't hit the "MUTE" button fast enough! Otherwise, the weather was wonderful, the handyman is almost done fixing our old house and it was generally just a nice day.

#53 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 10:06 PM:

Nicole -- the Boston Globe said the Omen remake was a waste of time. YMMV.

#54 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 10:17 PM:

Nicole: The original Omen film was, at least in my view, rubbish; a series of gory (for their time) deaths by special effects, building up to a twist ending that, while effective, wasn't worth all that one had to go through to get to it. (It might have been a good one-hour TV episode.) The first sequel offered nothing but the death sequences, and the third just lay there twitching, with cod-significant speeches and a team of demon-slaying priests working from Moe Howard's playbook.

It's not, in itself, a very promising story. To work, it would have to be about the internal conflicts of the characters -- if someone told you that a big fat prophecy said you had to murder a child, you'd probably want a second opinion -- but the original was just one more "you don't believe in supernatural things, so you're doomed" schticks that, like Hollywood's Biblical laff riots, gives you the smell of spirituality without any substance. Maybe they found something different. But the same writer as the first film is credited, which is not a positive sign for a deep rethink.

#55 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 10:55 PM:

Just a sidenote on Tim Kyger's comment (which Michael Weholt has already cleared up, pretty much): as I demonstrated to my students earlier in the term, 666 is what you get if you substitute the conventional number values for the Hebrew letters in the (Hebrew) transliteration of the Greek for "Emperor Nero". (That would be, in English transliteration, "Neron Kaisar".)

616 is what you get if you transliterate into Hebrew from the Latin "Nero Caesar", which is basically the same without the terminal "n". I can never remember all the numeric values, but you will already have deduced that "n" is worth 50 in Hebrew Scrabble.

Since John of Patmos was writing Revelation in Greek, 666 is probably correct; 616 presumably came in when it was all rewritten for a Latin readership. As I understood it, the seven heads on the beast were also supposed to represent the seven hills of Rome. I'm not sure about his horns. Weren't there twelve? I don't think John was very specific about the distribution of horns across heads.

Obviously this could all be nonsense. I've always liked the barcodes explanation, personally.

#56 ::: Shawna ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 11:17 PM:

Heard on the radio a bit ago, they were talking about some lady who turned 66 today... and when she was born, was 6 lbs, 6 oz... the really funny part, was, the lady announcer was apparently NOT having a good evening. She was trying to sound all casual about it, but her voice was all shaky... sheeeesh.

#57 ::: pat greene ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 11:26 PM:

And after all, you could have it worse: you could be a Marlins fan and watch the owners restart their win-sell-rebuild cycle every couple of years.

True, but on the other hand that strategy has netted them two championships over the past decade -- two more than the Atlanta Braves, who have had the most consistently good team over that time period, at least during the regular season.

It would still drive me crazy if I were a Marlins fan.

#58 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 11:36 PM:

Chryss - Sick of the Pixies?!? Never. (Hums a medley of "This Monkey's Gone to Heaven" and "Debaser")

#59 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 11:44 PM:

Albrecht Dürer's woodcuts illustrating Revelations
put me in mind of medieval Marvel comics
( sans word balloons and narration blocks ).

Modest guy;
when the subject was Christ,
he used himself as the model
( and this image is the Sunday School standard ).

#60 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 11:45 PM:

John M. Ford:

People who make obscure jokes about computer programming should be cast into a void.

#61 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2006, 01:13 AM:

Many thanks for all the detailed notes about the movie. I'll check in with some friends who saw it tonight, too--the trailer made it look, if not good, then at least interesting. Visually. Something about the hanged girl's shoe landing in the wedding punch really makes my insides twitch in the way you want an audience's insides to twitch.

#62 ::: Dave Langford ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2006, 03:56 AM:

Off-topic: although Hazel and I admired it in all its damp glory, the Sidelight "202 Liters of Diet Coke. 523 Mentos" now leads to:

"This video has been removed at the request of copyright owner EeepyBird.com because its content was used without permission"

Meanwhile, I'm still fond of Messrs Gaiman and Pratchett's novel Good Omens (working title William the Antichrist)....

#63 ::: Christine ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2006, 05:48 AM:

Whoops, thanks Mary. I'm all backward today. Does that mean for me yesterday was 999?

#64 ::: rea ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2006, 07:25 AM:

While Hell, Michigan is over in the 734 area code, both Paradise, Michigan and Nirvana Michigan, used to be over here in 616--until they changed the areas around. Make of this what you will . . .

#65 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2006, 07:57 AM:

I don't know if that's a coincidence, but TCM showed The Bishop's Wife yesterday. I always thought that Cary Grant's angel Dudley was creepy, smiling in a way that could easily switch from benevolent to let's-do-some-smiting-now.

#66 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2006, 11:01 AM:

Arizona had, for years, a highway called Highway 666 -- it was in my estimation rather well named. Beautiful road, amazing views, but very dangerous, as it skirted along one of the largest open pit mines in Arizona and then wound up the side of a cliff to the top of the White Mountains in Arizona. Many miles of very, umm, "exposed" road. Until recent years you could see crashed cars at the bottoms of some of the turns. It went from Morenci to Route 66 over some extremely rugged country.

According to the story I heard, the number was changed because of religious objections ...

Leva

#67 ::: Sean Bosker ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2006, 12:59 PM:

A warrior of GOD.

My goodness, has anyone seen this? A Christian woman spent a week with a Wiccan family and then returned to report on how things went.

DARK SIDED!

#68 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2006, 01:27 PM:

That lady seems to have genuine mental problems, Sean.

As I recall, the other family wasn't Wiccan, just a tidy, bland, comfortable not-especially religious family.

That wife swap show is despicable. A few months back they were trolling around the rocket-geek community. They wanted a family of enthusiastic rocketry hobbyists to stick who-knows-what into.

[Napoleon Dynamite]
Idiots!
[/Napoleon Dynamite]

#69 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2006, 01:31 PM:

There's a County Route 666 in Atlantic County, NJ, home of the Jersey Devil.

#70 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2006, 01:31 PM:

They wanted a family of enthusiastic rocketry hobbyists to stick who-knows-what into.

Sometimes a rocket IS just a rocket.

#71 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2006, 01:40 PM:

Sean, Stefan:  Yes, the lady appears to be seriously unhinged.  Whether she's real or acting, who knows.  The clip tells us nothing about serious about God, or Christians, or anything;  it just shows a woman acting as if she's crazy.  If she's really crazy, not just acting, she needs help, not to have her behaviour encouraged and exploited on TV.

#72 ::: Sean Bosker ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2006, 01:52 PM:

John, have you spent much time in the midwest?

#73 ::: Sean Bosker ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2006, 02:02 PM:

I only asked, because in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where I was raised, there were a lot of folks getting all holy roly like that over every little thing. She was surely freaking out, but I've seen lots of parents foam at the mouth and speak in tongues over things like the celebration of Halloween, over the various things in the book of revelations, etc. I posted that link in the context of this thread, after all, where you can read about some people who got very nervous about the date yesterday.

My mom is a Christian, obviously not all Christians are holy rollers. But some do drink poison, handle snakes, and go completely nuts over various signs of the devil.

#74 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2006, 02:03 PM:

No, don't know the midwest at all - coasts only.  Is that what passes for normal out there?

#75 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2006, 02:10 PM:

Well, I think of myself as sort of mainstream, middle-of-the-road Christian.  People who foam at the mouth and speak in tongues, or take "signs of the devil" like 666 seriously, are off the edge as far as I'm concerned.  If that clip shows an ordinary, unremarkable midwest woman, I'm just glad to be somewhere else!

#76 ::: Sean Bosker ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2006, 02:11 PM:

No, it's not entirely normal. But there are a lot of holy rollers in the midwest. On Sunday mornings you can watch about a million preachers on TV. The radios are jammed with christian rock, preachers, and other evangelical stuff, and there is a lot of blather about the end times.

When I was a kid, the Planned Parenthood was bombed in my town. Remember when Jerry Falwell said that 9/11 happened because Jesus removed his protection of America due to homosexuals? There are people who believe that kind of talk, and they can be found between the coasts. I'm not trying to generalize, nor to overstate the situation, nor do I want to misrepresent the overwhelming majority of Christians who in no way subscribe to that kind of fire and brimstone bible banging. But there are a still a great deal of loony Christians in the midwest, and that woman would fit right in at some prayer meetings.

#77 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2006, 02:13 PM:

warrior of GOD.

My goodness, has anyone seen this? A Christian woman spent a week with a Wiccan family and then returned to report on how things went.

DARK SIDED!

Surely she was saying 'dork-sided'. At least, that's what I was hearing.

#78 ::: Sean Bosker ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2006, 02:15 PM:

No, she was crazy, and that show did have a Springer-like sensationalism to it. Now I regret posting it! I guess, seeing her made to look so crazy, to throw out the money and then accept it when she realized it was for her to get her stomach stapled was a sort of vinidication for childhood traumas I felt at the hands of some overly zealous nutcases. Not the kindest motivation to post a link, I reckon.

#79 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2006, 02:16 PM:

John--

Her behavior does not pass for normal anywhere--including here in the Midwest. Though since she's from Louisiana, I'm not sure why Sean is connecting her with the Midwest at all.

Religous extremists are everywhere, and in every religion. Most of us in the Midwest can only get stirred up to fanaticism by the tomatoes in our backyard gardens.

#80 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2006, 02:16 PM:

Wow.  I guess these are the unquestioning supporters of the Great Protector Of Democracy Who Talks To God...

#81 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2006, 02:24 PM:

Sarah - you're right about religious extremists - Linux supporters can act that way about Microsoft sometimes.*  Good luck with the tomatoes!

* OK, flamethrowers off, guys.  That was a joke, right?  :-)

#82 ::: Sean Bosker ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2006, 02:28 PM:

If anyone is interested, I looked into her further. She is milking her new fame, and has a website with clips of her screaming and rapping.

A happyish ending for Marguerite.

#83 ::: Lisa Goldstein ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2006, 02:44 PM:

candle -- As I understood it, the seven heads on the beast were also supposed to represent the seven hills of Rome. I'm not sure about his horns. Weren't there twelve? I don't think John was very specific about the distribution of horns across heads.

Actually there were seven heads and ten horns. I wondered about the distribution too. Some of them must have gotten two horns, but which ones? And did some get three?

(I know, I know -- don't be so literal.)

#84 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2006, 02:56 PM:

Maybe the heads fight amoungst themselves for who gets to wear the extra horns?

The Apocomon Bestiary (anime style)

#85 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2006, 03:13 PM:

Maybe the heads fight amoungst themselves...

Stefan, this sounds like the three-headed knight bickering with himself/themselves in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

#86 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2006, 03:18 PM:

Stefan, this link to the Apocamon site is better.  But the site is not to be taken seriously!

#87 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2006, 03:19 PM:

Oops - thanks, Lisa. Looking through Stefan's Apocamon link, I see I'd forgotten most of the other details too. But at least it *does* resolve the head/horns question...

#88 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2006, 03:20 PM:

Oh, sorry, try again: link to Apocamon here

#89 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2006, 03:47 PM:

"But the site is not to be taken seriously!"

[Long Island accent]
No! You're shittin' me! :-)
[/Long Island accent]

* * *

If I won the lottery, I would set aside several score thousand and dole it out to Patrick Farley in installments as he finished chapters of his Apocamon comic. The bum hasn't posted anything new for literally years!

#90 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2006, 04:07 PM:

But the site is not to be taken seriously!

clearly. The "great whore" is listed as weighing in at 6666 kg's. She doesn't look anywhere near that big.

#91 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2006, 04:38 PM:

Xopher writes:

I've had my bill at a take-out food joint come to $6.66, and had the counterperson discount it by a penny without being asked.

Stray thought: Is a "counterperson" some kind of minion of the Antichrist?

Xopher, I didn't know you knew Ken Josenhans. Me, too. Not particularly well, but fondly.

#92 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2006, 04:48 PM:

In his SFGate column today, Mark Morford discusses a post-apocalyptic Christian RPG which sounds much scarier than a whatever-horned beast.

Can't seem to get the link gizmo working properly today after several tries, so go to this long address:

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/gate/archive/2006/06/07/notes060706.DTL&nl=fix

#93 ::: Tim Kyger ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2006, 04:50 PM:

Yes, and hello there Ken also! Good to see, um, you.

Apologies to all in Michigan for getting the locations of towns and area codes mixed up. I *did* look at a map however. Obviously not closely enough.

Bill Higgins -- I need to give you a call...

#94 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2006, 05:40 PM:

On Monday night, I found myself waking up one hour after going to sleep and remained stuck that way until near midnight (*). So I got up, went to the fridge and was pouring some milk when I noticed something on the floor that almost made me jump out of my skin.

A vinegarone scorpion.

Those guys are harmless, but a 2-inch black arthropod is a creepy sight. And while they don't have stingers, they have those mean-looking pincers. I tried to catch it in a container, without success, and it scurried back under the fridge. Now, I could have let things be, but I knew what Sue's reaction would be when SHE'd see the big bug. So I moved the fridge away from the wall until I could see the scorpion. I still tried to catch it and it still wouldn't cooperate so I wound up killing it. I felt bad about it and not just because they eat insects.

And did I tell you of the time our youngest doguette tried to play with a tarentula in the backyard?

----------

(*) In other words, this happened just before 6-6-6. But it was 6-6-6 on the East Coast when this happened, so does this qualify?

#95 ::: Harry Connolly ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2006, 06:06 PM:

Serge, it counts. The apocalypse runs on Greenwich Mean Time.

#96 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2006, 06:26 PM:

Seven heads and ten horns

And The String Section That Shall Not Be Named.

#97 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2006, 07:36 PM:

And does Jack Benny's Bugle of the Apocalypse have its own section in that orchestra, Mike?

#98 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2006, 08:12 PM:

Erik,

I admire your guts in giving John M. Ford a pointer on his writing.

#99 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2006, 01:21 PM:

All right, then.

Hubby and I did not go see The Omen Thursday, because I had spoken to a friend who had seen it opening night and judged it "full of jump-out-and-go-Boo scares without much point". We instead had a leisurely dinner in North Boulder and then went home and read Chapter 10 of Anansi Boys to each other. And thus an evening that might have been wasted was put to better use.

My husband finally saw the movie last night, with a friend. I stayed home. This morning he woke me up saying, "It was horrible. Oh my Gods it was bad. That was one of the worst movies I have ever seen." He then spent at least an hour and a half giving me juicy examples of its horribleness.

I came away with the impression that, were this made about twelve years ago, it could have been cast with Macaulay Culkin as Damien, and that might have been at least a small redeeming factor, because I've seen that kid play evil in little boy form (The Good Son) and he did a damn fine job. He probably also would have ad-libbed a little and thus made Damien's character slightly more interesting.

But, ah well, we can't have everything we want, because--as Steven Wright so rightly puts it--where would we keep it?

#100 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2006, 07:43 PM:

adamsj: well, it was a rather indirect reference; certainly not garbage that might need collection, if you're keeping count.

#101 ::: Eleanor ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2006, 08:19 AM:

I just noticed that Atlanta Nights is retailing at 6.66 today at Lulu. I wonder what the price was this time last week.

#102 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2006, 09:37 AM:

Sorry, I've been out of touch. Did the world end last week, or not?

#103 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2006, 11:19 AM:

John Houghton: We know, but we're not allowed to tell you.

#104 ::: Gary Townsend ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2006, 11:36 PM:

To Tim Kyger:

I was -- and I am totally serious here -- under the impression that current scholarship, new documents, and better translations had determined that the number cited in "Revelations" was *actually* "616." Really.

Most good Bibles contain a footnote noting that older manuscripts contain the number 616. I've read a book by a pastor in South Carolina who argued, using internal evidence found in Revelation (the title isn't plural, by the way), that John was referring to Nero Caesar.

As you may know, ancient alphabets (Latin and Hebrew, for example) doubled as numbering systems. Part of this pastor's argument claimed that if you transliterated Nero Caesar into Hebrew, the letters added up to 666. In Latin, however, they added up to 616. He argued also that the different numbers were more a reflection of the languages used, as well as the intended audience. Obviously, this assumes that those who received John's original manuscript knew to whom he was referring, and so could make the appropriate numero-alphabetical changes. Since John was writing from prison on Patmos, he had good cause to disguise his message. To support this argument, the pastor also pointed out that the practice of converting names to numbers was a common thing, and could even be found in ancient Latin graffiti, where some would identify their lovers by the number of their name, to hide the identity of the person.

The error of the 666-brand of Christian mythology is about as bad as St. Jerome's choice to use the Latin for "morning star" in the book of Isaiah, in the Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible. This, in part, is what has led to the silly notion that Lucifer is Satan. Lucifer is not Satan. Lucifer is the name for the planet Venus when it appears as the "morning star". Only the King James Bible (including the New King James) continues to use the word "Lucifer" in Isaiah 14.12. All other modern translations use the appropriate phrase, "morning star".

A related error of interpretation has this passage referring wholly to Satan, when, in fact, if it is kept in context, it refers to the "king of Babylon" (Isaiah 14.4).

These days, unfortunately, many prefer the Hollywood-esque-atology of 666 and LaHaye's silly novels over the truth. Good press and bad news are hard to beat.

#105 ::: Gary Townsend ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2006, 12:02 AM:

By the way, I suppose I should make it clear,...

...I'm the Beast! :P And here's proof, using an existing numerological system...

A=1, B=2, C=3, D=4, E=5, F=6, G=7, H=8, I=9, J=1, K=2, L=3, M=4, N=5, O=6, P=7, Q=8, R=9, S=1, T=2, U=3, V=4, W=5, X=6, Y=7, Z=8

G+A+R+Y =
7+1+9+7 = 24 = 2+4 = 6

D+E+A+N =
4+5+1+5 = 15 = 1+5 = 6

T+O+W+N+S+E+N+D =
2+6+5+5+1+5+5+4 = 33 = 3+3 = 6

So, the number of my first name is 6, the number of my middle name is 6, and the number of my last name is 6.

Hehehe. >:)

P.S. Of course, as with all modern numerological systems, all numbers are supposed to be reduced to a single digit, therefore,...

6 + 6 + 6 = 18 = 1 + 8 = 9

So, just as I'm an Aries, I'm also a 9, but...

Take the 9, multiply it by the number of the month of my birth (3), and you get the date of my birth, 27 (and, of course, 2+7 = 9). Eerie, is it not? NOT!

Fact is, that's just the curious nature of the number 9. Multiply it by any number, then add the numbers of the result together until you get to a single digit, and you'll always end up with a 9. (9 x 2 = 18 = 1 + 8 = 9 ... 9 x 4 = 36 = 3 + 6 = 9 ... 9 x 5 = 45 = 4 + 5 = 9 ... 9 x 12 = 108 = 1 + 0 + 8 = 9 ... 9 x 22 = 198 = 1 + 9 + 8 = 18 = 1 + 8 = 9 ... etc)

To Kevin Andrew Murphy:
I had a friend in high school who was born on 6/6/66 and was proudly in the running to be the anti-christ. As she said, "Why can't the anti-christ be a girl?"

I don't see why not? True story: my sister-in-law's birthday is 6/6/66, and she's one helluva woman, let me tell you (and I'm not being complimentary, either).

#106 ::: Tae ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2006, 09:59 PM:

That's my birthday: 06/06/6X.

My disappointment at not sprouting horns and being able to melt people's faces on whim on my eighteenth was HUGE.

#107 ::: Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2006, 07:13 PM:

In re the "Against Schools" sidelight:

My question is this: if he would have the electorate of the United States abolish the current public education system, what would he propose to replace it? I worry about people buying into the argument that the public school system should be abolished (rather than reformed or improved). I'm not convinced that turning schooling options over to the invisible hand of the market wouldn't make things even worse.

A couple of years ago, on ML, Graydon proposed a transition to a free market education system in the U.S. with the proviso that all students would be required to take and pass state-created certification exams. It might be possible to move in that direction with a transition period and some careful state legislation about schooling requirements. But I'd like to see some believable arguments that this strategy will yield better education and quality of life results for the average citizen. Until then, it makes more sense to me to repair/modify what we've already got.

I was annoyed by several point in John Gatto's essay that struck me as "sleight of hand" misdirection. He suggests that the public school system was developed as a conscious trick by the upper classes to divide the loyalties of the working class. He repeats the nostrum that the purpose of public schooling is to reduce the intellectual level of all citizens to a "safe standard" that will create sheeplike employees. He bypasses the inconvenient truth that before public education was instituted in the United States, most children faced a future of 12 to 17-hour days on farms or in factories to get food and a roof over their heads.

If Gatto wants to charge Horace Mann and John Dewey with the crime of "social engineering" to produce suitable employees for American industry, it seems to me he should recognize that most of the population in the late 19th and early 20th centuries *wanted* their children to participate in American industry at a higher level.

Is this deadly routine really necessary? And if so, for what? Don't hide behind reading, writing, and arithmetic as a rationale, because 2 million happy homeschoolers have surely put that banal justification to rest. Even if they hadn't, a considerable number of well-known Americans never went through the twelve-year wringer our kids currently go through, and they turned out all right.

I'd be more sympathetic to Gatto's suggestion that the current U.S. public education system has outlived its usefulness if he were willing to acknowledge that the system has been useful in the past for equipping a significant portion of the United States population to cope with the challenges of American life. Instead, he implies that home schooling is an obvious workable replacement for public education, ignoring the logistics of scale in the ratio 2 million to 70 million. He uses self-made dropout theme to suggest that public schools are useless for everyone.

What bothers me the most about his essay (aside from the implication that home schooling is an a priori replacement solution for the public education system), is the assertion that the public school system is *deliberately* designed to stunt intellectual growth as a banker's conspiracy. To me, this is in the same bag with "all capitalism is an evil conspiracy by vampires."

Again, I'm more sympathetic to arguments along the lines of "look at how stupid things are getting: the public education system is broken," than "the public education system has always been a Harrison Bergeron conspiracy to cripple the minds of the best and brightest."

FWIW, after reading about the experiences of people who hated their schools, I'm tempted to think I must have been one of the luckiest kids in the country in my elementary and junior high schools. Some highlights I remember:

1st grade:


  • teacher read Ruth Stiles Gannett's "Dragons of Blueland" to class as a daily serial. Exciting stuff
  • pre-taught addition and subtraction with bundles of pipe-cleaners, abacus, etc.
  • taught reading by phonics, organized us into reading groups, encouraged and provided materials beyond "Dick and Jane"
  • frequently met with students individually for what would now be considered universal IEP conferences
  • provided in-class typewriter for supplementary "recreation time" use
  • encouraged my fingerpaint and crayon constructions of spaceships (based on Captain Video), and Kaboosta Kid prisons (Ernie Kovacs)

2nd grade:

  • same teacher continued coherent instruction in reading, math, social studies, art, music, read "Wonderful Flight to Mushroom Planet" to class
  • music teacher introduced class to "In a Persian Garden," "Night on Bald Mountain," "Nutcracker Suite," etc., encouraged us to draw pictures as we listened.

3rd grade:

  • school librarian introduced me to "Chronicles of Narnia," encouraged me to write to Lewis to request more novels, after I'd read through them all
  • band coach encouraged me to play musical instrument, taught me to read music and play ensemble parts with trombone.

5th grade:

  • teacher provided pre-algebra and algebra textbooks for me to work on, after I'd demonstrated I could do any exercise in the standard book.

7th-8th grade:

  • Advanced math teacher worked with our AP section, Summerhill style. Encouraged us to master pre-algebra, geometry, and experiment with classical problems like trisecting the angle and squaring the circle. ##At my suggestion, read Isaac Asimov's "Feeling of Power" to us.
  • French teacher starts classes from Day 1 with combination of mime and "French-only" sessions. "Permettez-moi m'introducer. Je m'appelle Mademoiselle Spaar. Qu'appelez-vous?" (Offers handshake.) Teaches us to sing all the verses of "Les Crocodiles" and "Cadet Rouselle."
  • Extra curricular: After a fellow s-f fan and I become game test-consultants for Avalon Hill, we discover that his world history teacher is also an A-H game maven. We organize an after-school Civil War club and determine to design an expansion of A-H Gettysberg that covers the entire "Army of the Potomac" vs. "Army of Northern Virginia" campaign,

#108 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2006, 04:28 AM:

I've just gone looking for Latin Vulgate Bibles online, and all of the ones I could find had the relevant number as "sescenti sexaginta sex" -- i.e., "six hundred sixty six".

Welcome to Making Light's comment section. The moderators are Avram Grumer, Jim Macdonald, Teresa & Patrick Nielsen Hayden, and Abi Sutherland. Abi is the moderator most frequently onsite. She's also the kindest. Teresa is the theoretician. Are you feeling lucky?

If you are a spammer, your fate is in the hands of Jim Macdonald, and your foot shall slide in due time.

Comments containing more than seven URLs will be held for approval. If you want to comment on a thread that's been closed, please post to the most recent "Open Thread" discussion.

You can subscribe (via RSS) to this particular comment thread. (If this option is baffling, here's a quick introduction.)

Post a comment.
(Real e-mail addresses and URLs only, please.)

HTML Tags:
<strong>Strong</strong> = Strong
<em>Emphasized</em> = Emphasized
<a href="http://www.url.com">Linked text</a> = Linked text

Spelling reference:
Tolkien. Minuscule. Gandhi. Millennium. Delany. Embarrassment. Publishers Weekly. Occurrence. Asimov. Weird. Connoisseur. Accommodate. Hierarchy. Deity. Etiquette. Pharaoh. Teresa. Its. Macdonald. Nielsen Hayden. It's. Fluorosphere. Barack. More here.















(You must preview before posting.)

Dire legal notice
Making Light copyright 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 by Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden. All rights reserved.