Saturday, June 10, 2006

World's oldest condom




The oldest surviving condom in the world has gone on display in an Austrian museum.

The reusable condom dates back to 1640 and is completely intact, as is its orginal users' manual, written in Latin.

The manual suggests that users immerse the condom in warm milk prior to its use to avoid diseases.

The antique, found in Lund in Sweden, is made of pig intestine and is one of 250 ancient objects related to sex on display at the Tirolean County Museum in Austria this summer. Sorry Can't find the Museums web site.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Which Way To The Apocalypse? When all the fanatical Christians disappear, will traffic finally improve?

Wait, did I miss it?

Did it happen three days ago, on 6-6-06, a.k.a. Tea Time with the Beast, a.k.a. the Great Day of Reckoning, a.k.a. the National Day of Slayer, all the world crashing down in a heap of hissing steam and belching smoke and balmy gusty breezes sometime around noon just after lunch but not before rush hour and hitting right around siesta?

I might have been napping. Did the Apocalypse finally hit? Did the deep wish of roughly a half-billion zealous believers come to pass and were they suddenly whisked off into the humming glorious divine ether in one big orgiastic load of divine redemption, leaving us heathens and pagans and Wiccans and Jews and Muslims and Buddhists and journalists to fight it out over the last scraps of artisan Gruyère and fine Pinot Noir and gorgeous new Porsche Caymans? I simply cannot be sure.

Because if so, I am sitting here feeling a little gypped. I am sitting here not at all on fire, not at all reeling in unrelenting pain, not at all staring into the hot face of vile eternal doom without a single oscillating fan to cool my aching bones. Yet another portentous day has passed and the Rapture Index is almost off the charts with seething Armageddon certainty, and yet I'm still getting perfectly good cell reception. What gives?

After all, the time is now. The pump of doom is perfectly primed. The elements are all in place: massive BushCo abuse and vicious war and increasingly violent storms and armies of the ignorant and the righteous broadcasting their hate and their abominable fashion sense across the land. Do you not feel it? Man, we are so ready.

And yet still we wait.

I do not exactly know how the Christian right envisions Armageddon (though their new "Left Behind" video game is a happily blood-drenched indicator), but here is how I've always pictured it:

Hordes of the ultra-pious, decked out in "I (Heart) Jimmy Swaggart's Flop Sweat" T-shirts and black socks with sandals, rise to the heavens in giant peach-colored Ford Aerostars to gather in enormous hugging throngs where they are met by a wary and bleary-eyed St. Peter who offers them processed cold cuts and Kraft Singles and lukewarm Diet Dr. Pepper.

There are rusty swing sets with exposed bolts. There are inflatable pools. There is watery decaf coffee. There are large fleets of beige 1997 Honda Civics with cassette players locked down and preloaded with only Mariah Carey and Yanni. Everyone is slowly but surely driven giddily insane by the incessant harp music and the unmistakable scent of angel droppings. All thought ceases.

Yes, Jesus is there, smiling and rocking back and forth and looking just weirdly happy, and the minions gather 'round him in swooning, narcotized glee, everyone feeling more than a little justified for all their nasty deeds while on Earth, all the abortion clinic firebombings and all the protests of "The Da Vinci Code" and that morally nauseating thing with Terri Schiavo back in '05.

Finally, finally they have arrived at a place where no one is having sex and no one wants to marry someone from their same gender and all experience has been filed down to a dull nub of vague, tasteless sensation as liquid Prozac is misted into the air via a giant Glade Plug-In the size of Florida.

Except something is a little off. Something is not quite right. Let us look closer. Why, that's not Jesus at all -- it's actually a big blow-up doll of Jesus, a giant swaying latex toy, a wacky waving inflatable arm-flailing tube man painted to look like Jesus, bobbing back and forth like a car salesman on meth. Hmm.

But the minions, of course, do not notice. They are all swaying and waving in equally ecstatic response. It is one hell of a spectacle. It is vaguely cultish. It is also, eerily, exactly like a Celine Dion concert. Hmm.

And where's the real Jesus? Why, the true Christ is back on Earth, once and for all and finally, teaching everyone an incredible new dance, preparing the open minded and the nondogmatic for cosmic leapfrog. Turns out that only when the fanatics and the zealots and the demagogues were finally airlifted to the great padded Romper Room in the sky that the real Great Work could finally continue. Isn't that ironic? Isn't that fabulous? Isn't that exactly what you suspected all along?

What a fanciful dream. Indeed, you may think this talk of the Second Coming is just silly. You may think talk of Armageddon is just best left to plasticky televangelists and anti-everything fanatics like James Dobson and people who organize their gun collections by phallicentricity. And you would be very much mostly correct.

But be reminded: As reported here previously, the "Left Behind" series of Apocalypse-porn books has sold upward of 65 million copies worldwide. Many, many in high positions of power in the U.S. government (Hi, Senator Santorum!) see the accelerated deterioration of the Earth as a very good thing indeed, as there is no deed more worthy, no abuse more justified than that which helps hasten the Second Coming. SUVs? War? Oil gluttony? Ozone depletion? Condi Rice? All good, baby. All quickening the imminent Apocalypse.

Of course, there is a divine kicker. There is an entirely different scenario, similar but also completely different. Since ancient, pre-Christian times, the mystics and wise ones have their version of Armageddon, too, though theirs involves far less screaming and much less hellfire and far fewer interminable reruns of "7th Heaven" on local cable.

It does not, furthermore, involve leaving billions behind to fester and kill and drink pig's blood and remain wallowing in hell. It is merely a time when those whose hearts are luminous and whose perspectives are clear and whose minds are open and whose spirits are unpummeled by dogma and monotheistic self-righteousness, well, they will merely slip over to another plane. As for the rest, they will merely be resigned to experiencing this life all over again, and again, and again, until they get it right. It's just like the Christian Rapture, except flipped over and inverted and made transcendent and well lubricated and naked.

It is a time, maybe even just six years from now (2012, according to a very prescient Mayan calendar), when a Great Awakening will occur. It is when those who are ready, spiritually and energetically speaking, to evolve, to take the Next Step, will take a great trampoline backflip into deeper awareness.

You want a sign? You want something to signal you when it's about to happen? Easy enough. You can't miss it: Just look for the sudden, global, collective s---eating grin.
Thoughts for the author? E-mail him - mmorford@sfgate.com

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Anyone seen the beast? Today's date supposedly a wicked number, but the Vatican doesn't seem too worried

There are those worthless souls who ignore the power of 666, who believe today -- June 6, 2006 -- is nothing more than another ordinary mark on the ordinary calendar. They will go about their lives, blind to the bloodcurdling evil all around.

Soon, the streets will fill with death and decay.

Soon, the anti-Christ will rise to render the Earth a mosh pit of despair -- an empty, rotted stink hole of evil mayhem brought about by all things satanic. Doom will reign! Faces will melt! The world will explode! Die! Die! Die!

Or maybe not.

Yes, the date is June 6, 2006. And yes, there is a movie remake, "The Omen," that premieres today and focuses on the idea that 6/6/06 marks the rise of the anti-Christ. And yes, a couple of people even believe it. (According to a report by Tony Allen-Mills of Britain's Sunday Times, a pregnant Englishwoman recently urged her doctor to do everything within his power to push up her June 6 due date.)

"But I think I can assure you we're safe," says Fred Berardi, a monsignor with Holy Family Church in New Rochelle, N.Y. "Nobody needs to hide under their furniture."

Indeed, few within the Vatican appear to be losing much sleep.

There have been no public warnings, no cries from Pope Benedict XVI to load up on canned goods.

And yet, a legitimate biblical tie between 666 and bad stuff seems to exist. As reads Revelation 13:16-18: "He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name. This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man's number. His number is 666."

By "the beast," is the Bible referring to a three-headed, red-eyed ogre? Unlikely. Instead, most scholars interpret 666 to be the numerical code for Nero, the fifth Roman Emperor (A.D. 54-68) of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, who ruthlessly persecuted Christians.

"The legend of the anti-Christ is that of an agent of Satan empowered to pave the way for the end of times," says Phil Stevens, a professor of anthropology at the State University of New York at Buffalo and an expert on religious symbolism. "The myth of the anti-Christ has been passed down through the generations. But to start with, it appeared to be simply a very disliked man."

For the record, we've gone through this before.

The concept of a heinous 666 received a nice jolt in the year 1666, when the Great Fire of London killed thousands and left more than 100,000 people without homes. Unfortunately for panic's sake, there's little else to work with.

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URL: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2006/06/06/MNGP7J94SK1.DTL

Monday, June 05, 2006

12 Reasons Gay Marriage Will Ruin Society

1. Homosexuality is not natural, much like eyeglasses, polyester, and birth control are not natural.
2. Heterosexual marriages are valid because they produce children. Infertile couples and old people cannot get legally married because the world needs more children.
3. Obviously gay parents will raise gay children because straight parents only raise straight children.
4. Straight marriage will be less meaningful, since Britney Spears's 55-hour just-for-fun marriage was meaningful.
5. Heterosexual marriage has been around for a long time, and it hasn't changed at all: women are property, Blacks can't marry Whites, and divorce is illegal.
6. Gay marriage should be decided by the people, not the courts, because the majority-elected legislatures, not courts, have historically protected the rights of minorities.
7. Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are always imposed on the entire country. That's why we only have one religion in America.
8. Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people makes you tall.
9. Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage license.
10. Children can never succeed without both male and female role models at home. That's why single parents are forbidden to raise children.
11. Gay marriage will change the foundation of society. Heterosexual marriage has been around for a long time, and we could never adapt to new social norms because we haven't adapted to cars or longer lifespans.
12. Civil unions, providing most of the same benefits as marriage with a different name are better, because a "separate but equal" institution is always constitutional. Separate schools for African-Americans worked just as well as separate marriages will for gays & lesbians.

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