pure waste of time

I saw a report a few years ago, I think from the Lepanto Institute, about a former ‘Satanic high priest’ called Zachary King who had become a Catholic, and who reported having conducted sacrifices in abortion clinics, even involving cannibalism on one occasion. I reserved judgment about it at the time; since these ‘clinics’ are strongholds of the enemy, it wouldn’t be surprising if open witchcraft broke out inside them from time to time.

Recently I listened to a long talk that Zachary King gave at a Catholic church in the USA. He is not a credible speaker. He claims that after having been involved in a coven from the age of 13, he entered the ‘world church of Satan’ when he went to college. He says that this organisation is plotting world domination, and that he rose to be one of the highest members of it; a high wizard, no less. He also states that he was the most successful high wizard in the world, having a success rate of 92%.

Despite his eminent status in the society for world domination, High Wizard King was given the relatively humdrum task of attacking Baptist churches in the United States. His method of carrying out his mission was to infiltrate their soft furnishings’ committee (I am not making this up.) He would show up at a church and impress their pastor with his vast wealth, having 14 smart cars in his garage, and from there it was but a small step to the coveted place on the choir robes or church carpet commission. Then he would subtly turn the members of the committee against each other by spreading false reports of what they had said about each other. A moment would come when the committee would burst apart; and since, as everyone knows, a Baptist church stands or falls by its soft furnishing committee, the church itself would split, with 51% of the members going away, and 49% remaining – or it may have been the 51% who remained: anyone it was always the same proportion, which seems curious. He said repeatedly that he had carried out this operation 120 times.

I do not know how long it takes to infiltrate a Baptist soft furnishing committee. I would expect that a pastor wouldn’t invite a new member of his congregation onto a committee until he had known him for at least a year. But it may be that the world of Baptist fabric and haberdashery is a volatile one. Suppose, then, that the High Wizard had been voted or co-opted onto the committee after only 3 months of moving to a new church. To destroy it by cunning gossip (did he get the connection between diabolism and gossip from some early sermons of the present pope, I wonder?) would surely take at least 6 months – but let us say just 3. That would make a total of 6 months from his arrival at the church to its explosion. Doing this 120 times would require 60 years; except that to cover his tracks, he only destroyed every other Baptist church that he went to, always spending long enough between his acts of sabotage at another church to allay suspicions. So he must have required about 120 years to do his work. He was about 40 when he supposedly converted to the Catholic faith.

There are other features of the talk which are also incredible. He alleges that his conversion came when he was visited by an elderly Catholic lady in the jewellery store which he managed (does a High Wizard with 14 smart cars and an enormous house work in a shopping mall?), who told him all about his past life, and then challenged him to accept a miraculous medal. When she put the medal into his hand, nothing happened, but as soon as he closed his hand over it, the store disappeared and he had a vision of our Lady who took him by the arm and turned him round to show him Christ. This sounds like something from Medjugorje. Several people from the woman’s parish started calling her on her cell phone about the High Wizard because ‘the Spirit’ had told them to. Then he went to Mass and could see our Lord at the consecration every time and was surprised that other people couldn’t.

The whole talk is delivered in a calm, initially convincing, but ultimately banal manner. It is full of tropes designed to impress pious Catholics, such as the devil being like a barking dog chained up and how sad it is that more people don’t go to exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, while also playing on a merely human tendency to think of one’s ‘opponents’, in this case Baptists, as more ridiculous than they are: at one point he says that he not longer challenges people to say whether the bible makes a distinction between white magic and black magic, because some Protestants would produce such a distinction from their bible.

His web-site is similarly specious. The ‘Links and Resources’ section on the home page advertises four sites: two of them are to the FSSP and to Courage, neither of which things has anything to do with theme of the web-site, but both of which would tend to reassure the casual visitor. The section marked ‘References’ proudly boasts: ‘I have 4 reference letters from priests, including a Bishop’s Letter, that I will gladly make available upon request.‘ The name of the bishop is not mentioned, nor is any of it quoted, nor is any explanation given of why it is not made publicly available. A lists of interviews is offered, but most of them either have no link or a broken link.

I do not know if Mr King’s main aim is to make money, to have fun, or even eventually to reveal the hoax so as to discredit Catholics. In any case, don’t go there.

Is there a way of un-knowing this exists?

I have work to do, after all!

(The USA have quite bad resolution. Russia’s is good, but signs do not help that much. Yet, to miss Nishni Novgorod! Once you are stuck in some desolate wilderness in Australia or Scandinavia, you strangely know that you are exactly that, but where? Still, it is unfortunately even better than following obscure Iclandic streams at high resolution.)

In my ongoing quest of watching all 79 episodes of Star Trek – The Original Series (TOS), I have stumbled on a rather unusual one. An anonymous friend once characterized TOS as “banal American optimism”, comparing it favourably to its successor series’ Evil Nietzscheanism. There is a lot to be said for banal optimism, American or otherwise, for emotional-anaesthesia and/or gently-rinsing-one’s-brain-at-the-end-of-the-day purposes. Therefore, I like Star Trek best when it does not focus on deep philosophical contents, because when it does, it usually, and not surprisingly, gets it  wrong (Although, to be fair, the general rule of Narm Charm holds even here: when Star Trek is good, its is good; when it is bad, it is usually So Bad it’s Good).

The episode in question is ‘Bread and Circuses’, and has been generally rated as rather mediocre (possibly justified, though there are far worse), and, interestingly, as sort of  betraying what Star Trek stands for. The script is written by no less than (Star Trek inventor) Gene Roddenberry and (inventor of Klingons, Prime Directive, and much more) Gene L. Coon. Kirk , Spock and McCoy beam down to a hitherto uncharted planet to find it a planet of Space Romans – Romans with -us names, the Roman deities, slavery (albeit more humanized), arena fights (circuses!) – and Earth 20th century technology. For the first time, we even get an explanation why all these suspiciously Earth-history like planets are not just a ruse to make the most of pre-existing scenery and costume in a low-budget production: it is due to Hodgekins’ Law of Parallel Planetary Development. As I said, science explains everything.

Anyway, Kirk, Spock and McCoy first run into a group of runaway slaves drawn together by a sun (?)  worship with ideals of brotherhood, non-violence even in the face of cruel treatment (i.e., they are the goodies of the episode). McCoy is confused, as he does not know of any sun worship amongst Earth Romans, and everything on the planet is just so plausibly transformed-into-20th-century Romanism. However, everyone is far too busy being imprisoned, threatened, made to fight in the arena, consoled by pretty half-clad blonde alien females, and the like, to bother about that detail. Happily back on the Enterprise, they pick up this thought again, and Uhura is able to clarify things: She has been listening to the Space Romans’ radio programme, in which they tried to ridicule that religion of the protesting slaves, without success. It turns out they do not worship the sun, but the Son: Christ. And Kirk is blithely intrigued, wishing it was possible for him to “see it all happening again” – confident that slavery and arenas will soon disappear on this (unimaginatively named) Planet 4 of star system 892 through the rise of Christianity.

Given this:


They are peaceful Christionas and won’t use this gun on Kirk & Co.



might be a cool nerdy Christian witness T-shirt. You could have bets who among your pious friends gets it.

This could be a good place to discuss the questions of  a) whether, theologically, we can exclude the possibility of intelligent non-human life out there somewhere, b) whether, if there should be intelligent non-human life out there somewhere, they are either not fallen, and have a natural end, or fallen, and unredeemed, or fallen, and redeemed by Our Lord, or what. It could also be used as a justification of wasting one’s time with watching Star Trek, because, hey, it is after all, sometimes, and awkwardly, sort of Christian, isnt’ it?

As there have been certain requests to somewhat raise the girly note of this blog again, I hit upon the topic of ‘getting older’.  When a colleague of mine turned 30 this year, and literally fled the country on that occasion, I had little sympathy. When I myself turned thirty, I was conscious of a sudden influx of maturity, equanimity and wisdom that enabled me from that moment onwards to look down with incredible benevolence on those young folks in their twenties with whom I had to do. Looking into the future, I guess turning 50 also has a sort of romance to it. But 40 – that, I thought, might be possibly the only milestone birthday (goodness me, there seems to be no proper translation for this concept!) that might be thought depressing. However, one has to face these things – and some time ago I realized that 40 was the age at which one could leave behind oneself all attempts of appearing ‘youthful’, and instead, turn eccentric.

Proposing that idea to a group of female friends, I was met with astonishing enthusiasm. But the question also came up: What would you do to be eccentric? Personally, I would have my hair cut quite short, either dye it bright red or (as this is unfortunately  too an common idea) just leave it to grey in a haphazard and undyed way; wear glasses with broad black rims (I know, they are fashionable now, but hopefully will not be by then) and look at students coming into my office over the rim of these; I will wear brightly coloured clothes of unusual cut, and large necklaces (I am even pondering if the option of wearing huge, unusually shaped earrings might not be worth to get myself earring holes, but I think it is not worth it). Of course one would not have a television, or a car, and steadfastly refuse to be on twitter, facebook, or whatever new fad might be around by then. Already, I have started to use a fountain pen and bought myself a paper (!) diary for 2013.

Aelianus also suggested to me to put a quote of Cato or Varro in every one of my lectures (though unfortunately they were not as prolific on meadows as they were on other agricultural subjects).Forty would also be the time to start saying: ‘I call it Elymus repens. I do not care what they choose to call it now: they will change it back or to something else in five years’ time, anyway, and I am beyond caring for these short-lived whims.’ Having even the slightest tinge of a British sense of humour (by association) would make one an eccentric in Germany in any case. One could add to this by frequent references to Terry Pratchett (may God grant him the grace of conversion), Woodhouse, Dorothy Sayers, and 19th century English novelists, besides, please God, being offensively Catholic.

Yet: is the potential already exhausted? Any creative ideas would be welcome.

A recent concert of our University choir featured, among other works of musical genious, the Gummy Bear theme song ( in German, Danish, Hungarian, Chinese, and Klingon, in fact). For some odd reason, this animation, one of the first ‘western’ ones we got, had impressed me very much as a kid (don’t judge me too harshly for this). Hearing it again (in German, not Klingon, though one of my co-bloggers would maintain that those two languages are hard to distinguish) I realized that they actually translate ‘faithful’ with ‘devout’!

Also, the starting menu of wordpress.org in Germany seems to be in German by now.

Did this give you an earworm as well? You are welcome. I always love to share my little miseries.

or is solipsism wrong?

A wonderful happy smell. A summer perfume: for some reason it doesn’t work when it’s cold. I love this perfume so much. I wish it was cheaper – I’ve had the same bottle for four years, I think!





Flowers in winter. My sister loathes it, she says it tastes like soap. I think it tastes like jasmine tea would taste if it were beer.

Come on, it has both cows and frogs in it!

What a wonderful combination of search terms. I wish it wasn’t certainly someone looking up a post I wrote a couple of months ago 😦

This one, on the other hand, has me quite stumped:
preaching in church telling a friend with separate email addresses with commas in uk

I am glad to see that a small but steady trickle of people are learning what the most beautiful piece of music in the world is.

Top search term of all time appears to be “rosay”, “rozay champagne” “bottle of rozay” … I couldn’t work out why this brought people to our blog, and that more or less constantly. They end up, it turns out, at a diarification post I wrote a couple of years ago about spending the new year with Cleopatra, a bottle of ersatz Soviet pseudo-champagne, and … rosary. Which I mistyped.

Last May, the surface of my street was ripped up, and its venerable (well, not that venerable, there were only fields here till the fifties) cobbles revealed. The surface was laid in one go by the most remarkable machine (German, of course). I spent a long time goggling from the balcony that day, first admiring the Amazing Machine and then enchanted  by the  Dance of the Yellow Baby Bulldozers that went on for some time in celebration afterwards.  And I’ve finally managed to get the photos off my phone and onto the ‘puter.


Next Page »