Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Goat's Head Soup?

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Police in Torrington, Conn., are investigating the discovery of a display of two severed goat heads, a coconut and a pentagram drawn in chalk in a driveway in a residential neighborhood.

"We're not saying this is illegal," police Lt. Francis Balzano said. "We would just like to know what it means."

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Monday, May 29, 2006

"An Inconvenient Truth" has a few inconvenient inaccuracies?

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Letting the ticket stubs fall where they may with The Da Vinci Code, I read with interest Slate.com's review of Vice President Al Gore's new movie, An Inconvenient Truth.

Bemoaning the lack of action in the plodding film, writer Gregg Easterbrook says "Instead, we get a 100-minute PowerPoint presentation interrupted by outtakes from campaign ads, plus shots of Gore apparently rendered despondent by the weight of his environmental knowledge."

Though Easterbrook calls the movie "admirable" and "motivated by the sense of civic responsibility Hollywood on the whole has abandoned," he is quick to point out that Gore has taken, uh, liberties with the truth, or, at best, repeatedly presents worse-case scenarios.

Currently scientists are concerned that sea levels may rise up two to three inches in the 21st century due to melting icecaps; the movie shows a simulated flood of Manhattan, with sea levels rapidly rising up to 20 feet.

According to Slate, the movie takes heavy shots at Republicans as wasteful and lacking compassion, with Gore pushing the Think Green mentality as he hops aboard a petroleum-guzzling jet plane.

I think I'm going to wait for the DVD of this one. I can't take two hours of Al Gore all at once. Using the PAUSE button on my TV's remote doesn't use up extra energy, does it?

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Sunday, May 28, 2006

What you thought of "The Da Vinci Code": Survey results

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The polls are officially closed on our totally non-scientific survey of "What do you think of The Da Vinci Code?"

The poll was online from one week before the movie opened through Sunday (today) of its second weekend. Here are the results of the poll of SacredFem.com readers, or, at least, the five percent (5%) or so that bothered to give their opinion.


In its second weekend, The Da Vinci Code is doing about one-third the box office that it did its opening week. X-Men 3 opened this weekend selling 1 1/2 times the number of tickets domestically than Code did last weekend.

So much hype, so little movie....

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Da Vinci Code's biggest critic: Comet 73-P

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Amazing! Phenomenal! Unheard of! That's what's happening to the statistics counter at our brother site Burning Taper! Thousands upon thousands of hits from Japan are making the dials spin like crazy!

Why? They're all suddenly coming in to read about the Schwassman-Wachmann Comet 73-P, that Eric Julien predicts will splash into the Atlantic Ocean in just under 12 hours! Burning Taper has been writing about this event for over three weeks. But this kind of Internet traffic is incredible!

It's said when there's an earthquake coming, the dogs start to howl and the wild animals start to stampede. Humans are even more sensitive.

The comet collision is predicted to set off underwater volcanos and monstrous tsunamis. If there's anything the Japanese know about, it's earth-shattering catastrophes and volcanos! You've seen the Godzilla movies, haven't you?

Better read up on the comet. You only have about 12 hours!

Stories about Comet 73-P on Burning Taper:
Image: Hachiman, the Japanse god of the sky and of war

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May 25: Saint Mary Magdalen's Day

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Today, May 25, is not just Christianity's Day of Ascension, celebrating the day that Jesus bodily went to Heaven, and the day that a comet may (or may not) fall into the ocean, destoying all those who failed to flee the Atlantic coastal areas.

May 25 is also the feast day of Saint Mary Magdalen. No, not that Mary Magdalene. At least we don't think so.

Originally named Catherine, she joined a convent at age 14, only to have her parents take her back home to marry into a wealthy home. She refused, and took the name of Sister Mary Magdalen when she became a Carmelite of the Ancient Observance at the age of 16.

She led a hidden life of prayer and self-denial, praying particularly for the renewal of the Church and encouraging the sisters in holiness. Her life was marked by many extraordinary graces.

Saint Mary Magdalen de Pazzi (1566-1607) is the Patron Saint of sick people and of sexual temptation.

Image: Sister Mary Magdalen de Pazzi, from the Patron Saints Index

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Mary, we did not know you

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The following poem was left as a comment on the MySpace page of Sacred Fems, by our Sacred Fem friend Queen Cleopatra the Seventh.


Mary, We Did Not Know You

By Maya, Priestess, Order of Mary Magdala

Mary, we did not know you.
Kept hidden for centuries you were despised,
A Queen not seen, under harlot's disguise.
Mary, we did not know you.

No Wife has He, we were told.
No Priestess, no Bride, no Queen, He was alone.
They dressed you in rags, royal purple not shown.
Mary, we did not know you.

My heart weeps for what was lost.
How we treated you, Divine Daughter on High.
I search Heaven and Earth and ask myself, why.
Mary, we did not know you.

May we now bring wrong to right.
We will sing of Your Queenship for all to hear.
We will ring your truth, north, south, far and near.
Mary, now all may know you.

Image: Ted Neely and Yvonne Elliman as Jesus and Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar

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Witches' council publishes survey results

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The Covenant of the Goddess is a non-profit religious organization founded in 1975 to increase cooperation among Witches and to secure for Witches and covens the legal protection enjoyed by members of other religions.

Membership is open to solitary witches as well as covens.

The COG recently published the results of their 2005 survey of witches, Wiccans and pagans.

The poll indicates that a majority of respondents are well educated, above a high school diploma, and an overwhelming number (94%) are registered voters. The poll also shows 27% are raising their children within their religion, while 52% indicate a multi-faith upbringing. Nearly two-thirds of the respondents indicate their spiritual practice is not affiliated with any faith group or organization

The Covenant's Code Of Ethics:
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Submerged Roman city in Egypt to be explored

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Egyptian authorities have approved the underwater exploration of a Roman city submerged in the Mediterranean, 35 kilometers (20 miles) east of the Suez Canal on Egypt's north coast.

Archaeologists had found buildings, bathrooms, ruins of a Roman fortress, ancient coins, bronze vases and pieces of pottery that all date back to the Roman era.

Egypt's Roman era lasted from 30 BC to 337 AD.

Image: Statue of Juno, Roman queen goddess, by Rudolph Zullich, 1846

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Madonna crucified

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In a weird mix of Sacred and Fem, Kabalah-loving Madonna opened her Confessions World Tour by being hung on a giant, silvery cross with a crown of thorns atop her head.

As expected, Christians don't like it.

A Church of England spokesman said: "Is Madonna prepared to take on everything else that goes with wearing a crown of thorns?

"And why would someone with so much talent seem to feel the need to promote herself by offending so many people?"

David Muir of the Evangelical Alliance said: "It is downright offensive. Madonna's use of Christian imagery is an abuse and it is dangerous.

"The Christian reaction to this sort of thing tends to be tempered but if the same thing was done with the imagery and iconography of other faiths the reaction woulld be very different."

Go ahead, Church. Bitch about it a lot. Sell some tickets for her like you did for The Da Vinci Code.

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The Passion of the Cash

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Jay Leno on Monday night jokingly said the new nickname of The Da Vinci Code is "The Passion of the Cash."

The Ron Howard-Tom Hanks movie earned $231.8 million worldwide in its weekend opening — $154.7 mil international, $77.1 mil domestic. The Da Vinci Code was the number one film in every country that it opened.

Already, horrendous bootlegs of the movie are selling for sixty cents on the streets of China.

Sony's Columbia Pictures now owns the rights to the character Robert Langdon, and is set not only to make a "prequel" to The Da Vinci Code from author Dan Brown's previous book Angels and Demons, but also to eventually make a sequel movie from Brown's so-far-unreleased book The Solomon Key, which is expected to be published in 2007.

The phrase "The Passion of the Cash" seems to have first been used in April 6, 2004, on the blog Like Anna Karina's Sweater, in discussing the 1973 movie The Gospel Road, which starred Johnny Cash as Himself, Robert Elfstrom as Jesus Christ, and June Carter Cash as Mary Magdalene.

Of this film, Andy Dursin of The Aisle Seat said: "Shot on location and funded by Cash, this well-intentioned but odd and not especially cinematic tale offers a blond Jesus (director Robert Elfstrom) and a fairly forgettable assortment of songs."

Image: June Carter Cash as Mary Magdalene in The Gospel Road

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Monday, May 22, 2006

Pregnant Mary Magdalene common in old paintings

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Catholics and Protestants alike are all a-tizzy over the idea that Jesus and Mary Magdalene might have conceived a child. Some call it a "warmed-over heresy," others claim it's some new idea aimed at toppling Christianity from its foundation.

The idea of a pregnant Mary Magdalene isn't new. Many celebrated painters of the Renaissance and Baroque Era painted her as pregnant.

Note that nearly all these representations of Mary Magdalene show her with an alibaster box or vessel. Traditionally the vessel is the container of salve used to annoint Jesus after his Resurrection. It is also associated with Mary of Bethany, whom some consider to be the same woman as Mary Magdalene, Jesus's wife.

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Da Vinci protests abound, but we didn't see any

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With venom and vitriol, "loving" Christians are protesting the premiere of The Da Vinci Code. With a U.S. opening weekend box office of $77 million, the movie ranks second only after 2002's Spider-Man for highest grossing opening weekend in history.

We went to see the film last night (Sunday evening), and took a camera hoping to snap some shots of protesters to post today. Alas, no one was at the theater except peaceful movie-goers. No rants, no rosaries, no bullhorns, no arson. (We did notice several cars in the parking lot bearing Masonic emblems.)

Elsewhere, the protests continue:
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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Professor, author of Sacred Feminine book, discovers ancient parchment signed by Da Vinci

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Robert Langdon, professor of Religious Symbology at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., has been a busy man lately. His expertise includes classical iconology, symbols of pre-Christian culture, goddess art, and the decryption of ancient ciphers. He is he author of over a dozen books, including The Symbology of Secret Sects, The Art of the Illuminati, The Lost Language of Ideograms, as well as a college textbook of Religious Iconology.

Recently, while working on his latest project, an exploration of modern religious iconography and its origins in the ancient goddess cults book called Symbols of the Lost Sacred Feminine, Professor Langdon discovered an ancient parchment that historians now believe may be the work of Leonardo da Vinci. The parchment seems to be signed by da Vinci; it bears the initials LSPDV. Leonardo's full name was Leonardo Ser Pieri Da Vincio.

The parchment bears a title: La Profezia, or The Prophecy. Just before Leonardo died, according to legend, he made a powerful prophecy about the future. Prof. Langdon and other historians believe this parchment may be the key to Da Vinci's long lost prediction, encoded in a key consisting of 24 symbols. The professor also believes this key was not original to Da Vinci, but reproduced by him from an earlier papyrus first found in Jerusalem, in the Middle Ages, and may have been created around 1000 B.C., during the reign of King Solomon.

Read more about Professor Langdon and his research on his website.

A related article discusses other tangents involving this Solomon Key, including possible ties to the New World — America — including modern Freemasonry and recently built granite and marble monuments such as those in Washington, D.C. and the mysterious Georgia Guidestones in Elberton, Georgia.

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Saturday, May 20, 2006

Interview with a Creepy Cat: Podcaster Cat Dumas tells all

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Cat Dumas, 41, is a Sacred Fem from Lake Elsinore, California. She's a writer of dark fiction, a Wiccan, a registered nurse, an artist, a painter and a podcaster.

Now in its 18th episode, Cat's Creepycast is a podcast of readings of her own work, of the music of favorite bands, and of interviews with Wiccans, new age, occult, paranormal and assorted "creepy" (we mean that in the good way) writers and other genteel folk. A recent episode found Cat interviewing fellow author Isian minister Denise "Dion Isis" Dumars.

You can tune into or download her podshow on her website or look for "creepycast" at iTunes.

SacredFems.com: How long have you been interested in the paranormal?

Cat: I think I became interested as a child. I loved the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland and had this fantasy of living there even though it gave me a weird feeling of being watched. I really believed, and still do, that real ghosts were hiding behind the "fake" ghosts because of the feelings I get going through the mirror tunnel. The room with the psychic and crystal ball also gives me that weird feeling that I get when I'm in a place that has spirits.

SacredFems.com: What led you to study it, and now to podcast about it?

Cat: As a teenager I ran with the punk rock/death rock (now called goth) scene and I became familiar with witchcraft. I started studying Wicca theme books and candle-burning magic-type things. The problem with that is I have a really bad temper, which came from being abused Carrie-style in school and then getting myself into an abusive relationship. So I learned the hard way that I could use that angry energy to cause things to happen. After a few weird experiences I decided that I did not want to deal with that stuff for fear of bringing harm to myself or family. There were a couple of instances where I wished bad things on those who hurt me while concentrating on a burning candle and maybe putting the words on paper with a few symbols drawn on it. My wishes came true to the very last word. This still scares me because I sometimes get enough anger built up over someone who, say, is harrassing me and I can just yell at them that I hope blank will happen to them and it still sometimes does depending on how angry I was and how much I meant it.

As I matured and calmed down I started to have experiences where I'd feel someone touch my arm or shoulder or tug my hair playfully but there wouldn't be anyone there when I turned. And I also still felt certain presences in places or smell things that nobody else does. My theory is that I give off a lot of energy that draws spirits to me because they need the energy to make themselves known. Like the battery drawing theory. So I am a power source for them. Which brings me to my other theory of the chronic fatique syndrome that I have. I've noticed that going to places of great sadness or distress will being on the ailment much more than going to happy places. I teach nursing and have two sites that my students go to for clinicals. When we go to the nursing home I am immediately weak and tired. By the time I get home I'm so overwhelmed with exhaustion that I am always late the next day because I sleep like I'm in a coma. When we go the the acute hospital where people have a much better outlook I actually lose track of time and feel fine when we leave.

From a podcasting standpoint, I just wanted to do it because I could and I needed a creative outlet that wasn't too demanding. It gives me a great sense of accomplishment. All the stress of being a single parent with a huge mortgage had gotten me away from my writing and painting. The podcast has encouraged me to finish the stories I have started and also edit the ones that were finished so they would read well on the show. I am working on one right now that is a two-part story. The first part is finished and will be read on the next show.

SacredFems.com: Do you personally know the bands you feature?

Cat: No, actually I pick the music from MySpace or PodSafe Music Network. I've had some bands contact me themselves and tell me they listen to my show and offer their music. I have made some friends from this. I still stay in touch with Calabrese, whom I interviewed on the show and see them as becoming good friends because we have so much in common and they are really great people.

SacredFems.com: How does one become a podcaster, technically-speaking? Can you do it all alone or do you use a tech-savvy friend? What kind of equipment are you using? Do you work from a script or just wing it? Is it recorded in one sitting, or is there a lot of editing?

Cat: Podcasting is both easy and difficult. It isn't too hard to learn the software required to edit and produce your own show. It does take some good equipment and you have to pay for the show to be "hosted" online. Once you get the hang of the software to cut and edit sound clips it isn't too bad but there is still a lot of time involved.

That is where it gets really difficult. I have a full time job as well as two kids and several animals. Free time is limited as it is so it's really the guilt of not getting a show done on time that gets a fire under me. The editing process sometimes takes several hours to produce a 30-minute show.

SacredFems.com: Where do you see your podcasting in six months?

Cat: I've had a couple internet radio people say they want my voice on their show. I may branch out to internet and try to get a regular satellite station to pick me up. There is a lot of networking involved to get anywhere in this business. I'd just be happy to have a sponsor to help with the costs of doing the show.

SacredFems.com: You're a paranormal investigator. Can you tell me about a personal
experience of the paranormal you have had?


Cat: The term "investigator" should be used loosely here. I have friends that use lots of scientific equiptment that never seem to work for me. I usually just use my gut instincts and take pictures or dowse when I feel there is a presence near me. I talk a lot about one expedition aboard the Queen Mary on my show. I think it is Episode 2. Anyone interested in hearing it can go to my website and scroll down the page till you find number two. Then click on the little icon that says "pod" and it will take you to the player. You don't have to have an iPod to hear the show and I think a lot of people still don't know that. It's just more convenient to download them to a player so you can get your butt moving outside. I like to listen to other podcasts when I'm walking. Then I'm more apt to walk farther because I am distracted. I think the iPod is the best exercise invention ever. You don't have to change CD's while you walk or listen to one skip. I have a 40Gb hard drive on mine so I could walk across the entire state and never listen to the same thing twice. But, I'm not that ambitious!

SacredFems.com: Tell me about your fiction, and your other art. What drives you to produce?

Cat: It is sad but true that most art comes from inner turmoil and sadness. When I was involved in a bitter abusive relationship all of my stories surrounded a battered woman. When I finally got away from that relationship years later I found I didn't have any need to write.

It was more of a chore. So I began to do interviews for small press music magazines but that quickly bored me to death. I like to hang out with rock stars but I don't want to write about it. The podcast is sort of a compromise in that I can still do interviews but don't have to put it in grammatically correct form. I hate homework.

As far as me starting to write new stories, I am currently in inner turmoil again because I have gotten so out of shape in the last few years. I hurt my back (disk herniation) in a freak accident while trying to keep a patient from falling out of the bed. This yo-yo thing of being thin and then flabby is driving back to my teenage battle with anorexia and bulimia. So, as the pattern goes for me, I'm writing a horror story with the main character having an eating disorder. It's how I get over things.

My other art (watercolor painting/drawing) is at a very bad standstill and it makes me sad. I've lost the ability to draw well. I keep trying again every couple months. I've decided that I will take a class at the local college so I will be forced to draw and then I will get my talent back. I plan to produce some watercolor paintings and have prints made. I'm hoping to sell signed prints and a fiction collection through the show.

SacredFems.com: What does the Ankh on the chain around your neck in your photo mean to you?

Cat: The Ankh symbolizes the ever-lasting life. I would like to live on forever if even in spirit. The thing about the ankh is that I seem to draw more paranormal activity when I'm wearing that then when I have on a crystal. It may just be that the Ankh is very close to me as I've had it for over 22 years now. It's like a part of me and it probably has a lot of my energies trapped in it.

SacredFems.com: What's your religious/spiritual background? What's your current
spiritual practice?


Cat: I was raised Christian and even attended a private Christian junior and senior high school. I thought they were all hypocrites, though, and went my own way. I'm more of a Druid/Pagan-type where I believe that the Earth is God and I always try to do good to all mankind, animals, bugs, etc. I catch spiders in the house and take them outside unless they are poisonous. Those I kill because my first priority is the safety of myself and my family. Most of the cobwebs I leave up in my house to catch the mosquitos. We live near a lake so there are thousands of them trying to get in all the time. My kids and I still get on the ground outside to marvel at the ants or crickets even though the rest of the town looks at us like we're nuts. Now that I'm a grownup I like being the outcast.

SacredFems.com: Thanks for talking with me, Cat. I wish you the best in your podcasting and other projects. We'll be listening.

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Friday, May 19, 2006

Endless reviews of The Da Vinci Code

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Here's a roundup of The Da Vinci Code reviews. Maybe I'll write my own after I see the film.


'Nuff said.

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Opie Cunningham "frustrated" by Da Vinci Code reviews

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Director Ron Howard says he's "frustrated" by the negative reviews of his $125 million film of Dan Brown's novel The Da Vinci Code.

He pointed out that the movie-going crowd often disagrees with early reviewers. He also said some people were finding the movie "more rewarding" on a second viewing.

Only one major publication so far has given the movie a good review. The New York Times called it "crackling" and "irresistable."

Atta boy, Ope!


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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

"The Da Vinci Code": Even the reviews are part of the conspiracy!

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Now that the laughing gas has worn off, the reviews are coming in. And some of them are not good. But the "first one," after a mysterious delay making it not actually the first one, proclaims the movie "good."
Fox News was touted across the Internet as having "the first review," but the link was broken for at least an hour around 4 a.m. ET Wednesday morning. The URL appeared as part of the page, with only the Fox logo appearing. It's got to be a conspiracy, perhaps by Sony/Columbia. Yeah, that's it.

Fifteen minutes later, the link was intact. And the review by Roger Friedman was good: "...[I]t's a good movie, a solid entertainment with much to recommend it. The only people who could be unhappy with it are Opus Dei, which is fairly well attacked as represented in excellent performances by Paul Bettany, Jean Reno and Alfred Molina. Mainstream audiences will take this for what it is: superb escapism, excellent summer entertainment and ambitious filmmaking."

Odd. The first stories about reviews said they were bad. Now the story calling itself "the first review" is good. Conspiracy, conspiracy!

Meanwhile, the Philipines has rated The Da Vinci Code film R-18, meaning children are not allowed to see it. The rating means over half the theatres in the country won't be allowed to screen it.

An unidentified Sony spokesman said they will not challenge the rating, for fear that a review of the rating would earn the film an X-rating, which effectively would ban it from the Philippines.

A survey commissioned by the Catholic Church says that people who have read The Da Vinci Code are twice as likely to believe that Jesus sired children with Mary Magdalene as those who have not read the book.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Albinos condemn "Da Vinci" assassin

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When GrouchoGandhi mentioned that albinos were upset about the bad guy in The Da Vinci Code being an albino, I thought he was kidding. Not only are millions of Christians unhappy about the un-P.C. way Jesus is presented in the movie, but albinos are miffed that the murderous monk is unpigmented?

Did little people complain when an Austin Powers movie featured Mini-Me? Did fat people complain when an Austin Powers movie featured Fat Bastard? Did aging former pretty boys complain when Robert Wagner was replaced by Rob Lowe?

Then what's the beef? Do we live in a world where "being offended" is a way of life?

Go read Dr. Wayne W. Dyer's article "Are Resentments Justified?" and get on with your lives.

Hollywood lives and breathes stereotypes. It's not going to change. Use this knowledge to your advantage. Take an acting workshop, and audition for the roles yourselves!

Image: Sta-Puft the Marshmallow Man, the bad guy from Ghostbusters

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Journalists laugh at preview screening of "The Da Vinci Code"

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Journalists at a preview screening late on Tuesday at Cannes were unimpressed by The Da Vinci Code, Reuters reports.

Reaction at the opening press screening was mostly negative. Loud laughter broke out at one of the pivotal scenes.

"Nothing really works. It's not suspenseful. It's not romantic. It's certainly not fun," said Stephen Schaefer of the Boston Herald.

"It seems like you're in there forever. And you're conscious of how hard everybody's working to try to make sense of something that basically perhaps is unfilmable."

At last report, Tom Hanks was laughing all the way to the bank with a cool $40 million for his work in the film, and Dan Brown was giggling his way to the bank with at least an extra five million.

Image: Laughing Jesus, by D. Janovich

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"Simply blasphemous!" — Catholic priests urge protest of "The Da Vinci Code"

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Catholic clergymen and activists really really don't want you to see The Da Vinci Code.

The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property, a distinctly Catholic organization, has garnered over 100,000 digital signatures to this letter, which they sent to the producers of The Da Vinci Code and Columbia Pictures:
Columbia Pictures
Attention: Producers of The Da Vinci Code

I am deeply opposed to your making a film out of Dan Brown’s novel The Da Vinci Code. Before you go any further with this project you should consider that millions of Catholics see this as Christ-bashing and insulting to the Catholic Church.
  • The book, written as fiction, attacks all I hold sacred — the Divinity of Christ, the Gospel, the Papacy and the holy mysteries of my Faith.
  • The novel is simply deceitful, replacing Our Lord Jesus Christ with an anti-Jesus Christ.
  • The Holy Catholic Church is misrepresented as a cruel power that betrays Christ and His teachings.
  • Furthermore, be sure that if you go ahead and produce the film, millions upon millions of Catholics will become engaged in the largest peaceful and legal protest ever seen.
Sincerely,
On another webpage the ASDTFP brags that "if anyone knows blasphemy," it's the former prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez. Cardinal Medina is the man who had the honor of announcing the new Pope last year.

Medina has proclaimed the assertion that Jesus and Mary Magdalene had sexual relations "simply blasphemous." There you go — case closed!

On April 28, Archbishop Angelo Amato, Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith (old name: The Holy Inquisition), criticized The Da Vinci Code book and film, and urged Catholics to organize protests worldwide, while speaking at a Catholic conference in Rome.

According to the news agency Ansa, the Archbishop said the book was, "full of calumnies, offences and historical and theological errors regarding Jesus, the Gospels and the Church."

He added: "I hope all of you boycott this film."

If you want to participate in a protest outside a theater, the ASDTFP has got you covered. You can download their "Protest Organizer Kit" and Protest Posters and Handouts. The Kit tells you what to say to reporters, what to chant through your bullhorn, and even reminds you not to get into verbal or physical fights with the blasphemous sinful movie-going public.

Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher to the pontifical household since 1980, managed to get in two swipes for the price of one last month in his Good Friday sermon at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.

Refering to the recently unveiled modern translation of the Gospel of Judas, he said, "There is much talk about Judas' betrayal, without realizing that it is being repeated. Christ is being sold again, no longer to the leaders of the Sanhedrin for 30 denarii, but to editors and booksellers for billions of denarii.

"We cannot allow the silence of believers to be mistaken for embarrassment and that the good faith of millions of people be crassly manipulated by the media, with raising a cry of protest, not only in the name of the faith, but also of common sense and healthy reason.

"No one will succeed in halting this speculative wave, which instead will flare up with the imminent release of a certain film. "The apocryphal gospels on which they lean are text that have always been known, in whole or in part, but with which which not even the most critical and hostile historians of Christianity even thought, before today, that history could be made," Father Cantalamessa said.

He said the Gospel of Judas, The Da Vinci Code and other works like them each have "a common explanation: We are in the age of the media and the media are more interested in novelty than in truth."

Not to be outdone in rhetoric, Archbishop Hector Aguer of La Plata, Argentina, during his Palm Sunday sermon accused the world of fomenting a "wave of hatred against Jesus Christ and the Church" that "bears the markings of a conspiracy."

Examples of this conspiracy include:"To all this one can add the numerous profanations of the Sacred Scriptures, the blasphemies against the Most Holy Virgin, and the growing, ubiquitous pressure to remove crosses and other Christian symbols from public places," the archbishop added.

Not content just to make his points above, the Catholic World News reported that he then whined about the "widespread condemnation and rejection of recently published cartoons depicting Mohammed, as well as the rapid activation of democratic mechanisms condemning discrimination and infringement upon religious freedom whenever there is the slightest attack against the Jewish community. And yet, he continued, 'the apathy, the leniency, the suspicious silence in response to attacks on the Christian faith stands out. It seems that Christianity, and specifically Catholicism, can be attacked with impunity,' Archbishop Aguer said."

Image: Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez, center

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Monday, May 15, 2006

School board backs down from Bible distribution after pagans offer their own books

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The Brunswick County (N.C.) School Board backed down from an announced policy of letting Christian churches distribute Bibles in schools after local pagan organizations said they wanted to distribute books, too.

School board vice-chairman Shirley Babson (on left, holding Wiccan book) said, "I am afraid of the mess we will create with this. I'm okay with Bibles, but not with sending this kind of message."

Shirley Babson's (sbabson@bcswan.net) bio on the school board's website lists her as being very active in the local and national Republican party. She was an elected delegate to the 2004 Republican Convention. And — big surprise — she is listed as "Christian Life and Public Affairs Director of the Brunswick Baptist Association."

As if we couldn't guess by looking at the three-pound cross hanging around her neck....

Read the story at The Wild Hunt blog. Follow-up stories and the above photo, which local pagans say will increase the popularity of paganism and help make paganism the "rebellion of choice for local students," are here.

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"The Da Vinci Code" now a tool to win Christian converts

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Instead of bitching and moaning about the upcoming The Da Vinci Code movie like much of Christendom, evangelical Christians are using the publicity to push their own point of view, more properly refered to by the marketing slogan, to "... win souls for Christ."

What a great marketing strategy. According to the Los Angeles Times, instead of giving the movie free publicity by whining about it, like fundamentalist Christians and most Catholics have done, savvy evangelical pastors are:
... setting out doughnuts and sandwiches and inviting non-Christians to come discuss The Da Vinci Code bestseller. They're creating hip marketing campaigns to draw nonbelievers to sermons about the thriller. They're even giving away free iPods loaded with their commentary on the novel.

Josh McDowell, a Christian writer and evangelist in Richardson, Texas, said that what is needed is not anger, but to counter the power of the film with "a very positive, wholesome, winsome" response.

Gary Poole, a pastor at "mega-church" Willow Creek Community Church near Chicago, said, "It's probably going to be an awesome movie."

22,000 people came to hear Poole's sermons last month on The Da Vinci Code. Further sermons on the topic are planned.

California pastor Ken Baugh plans to hand out free tickets to The Da Vinci Code.

At least one church minister sent out 15,000 postcards with Mona Lisa on one side and an invitation to his sermons on the other.

Other preachers are urging their flock to attend the movie with non-Christian friends, then take them to Starbuck's (with church-bought gift certificates) and witness to them. (This "trappist" method reminds me of how Amway people used to lose friends.)

Ken Baugh, senior pastor of Coast Hills Community Church in Aliso Viejo, Cal., has recorded his "response to The Da Vinci Code" sermons on IPod's and has so far given 325 of these expensive toys to young people in his congretation in hopes that the youngsters will pass on the devices to their non-Christian friends.

"I think the Lord is going to use this film to bring more people to Christ, absolutely," said Baugh.

(That's an option we didn't think of when we created the "What do you think of The Da Vinci Code poll over there on ther right side of the page. Yeah, that one. The one you should participate in. Please give us your opinion.)

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Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother Goddess Day! Goddess worship in Freemasonry

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Strange bedfellows, indeed. A reader of SacredFems.com pointed out the other day an article that explores the Goddess symbolism in Freemasonry. Drawing from many sources, including anti-Masonic rants by Christian fundamentalists, writer William Bond tells us:

Bond's article, though poorly documented, contains much food for thought and reflection.

I'll close by quoting another interesting section of Bond's article. I find it fascinating because it discusses my name, Mary:
The name Mary comes from the Egyptian goddess Maat and the Mesopotamian Goddess Mami or Mammitu which means Mother. So Mary was originally a name for the Great Mother. The name Virgin Mary also has a interesting meaning.

The ancient meaning of virgin is far different to what it means in Christianity. To the Christians a virgin is a woman who has never been penetrated by a man. Which then creates the problem in that Mary mother of Jesus was supposed to be a virgin when she conceived him. The Christian explanation is that God was the father of Jesus. This is not unusual in religions of this time, the Greeks had Zeus who would seduce or rape mortal women and from this union would come heroic demigods.

The Pagan meaning of virgin is a woman who is owned by no man. So therefore she was at liberty to have sex with any man she chooses. To the degree that when she gives birth she may not know or care whom the father is. The problem for the patriarchy in having women like this, was that property or inheritance could only be passed down the female line. Which meant that power and wealth was still being inherited by women. Because of this kingship was passed down the female line as we see in Ancient Egypt. So the patriarchal law of marriage was enforced where a women was expected to be faithful to one man. Which allows a husband to know who his children are. This then allowed property and titles to be passed down from father to son, keeping wealth and power in the hands of men.

This then suggests that the Virgin Mary was a women who wasn't restricted to the patriarchal custom of marriage and so probably belonged to a Goddess religion. Also the original meaning of the Virgin Mother was a name of the Ancient Great Mother who could give birth without the aid of a male God. Which raises a question, what is a the Ancient Great Mother doing in a Bible of a patriarchal religion? It suggests that people were probably still worshipping the ancient Great Mother in early Christian times and the Christians needed the Virgin Mary in their religion to attract these people.


Excerpts from William Bond's Goddess Symbolism within Freemasonry

— Mary

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Saturday, May 13, 2006

The world awaits "The Da Vinci Code" movie

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The world eagerly awaits the release of The Da Vinci Code movie.

According to Variety magazine, the controversy surrounding the film has done nothing to damper the public's enthusiasm. People want to see this movie. Sony has promotional gimmicks set up all over the world to increase this enthusiasm.

Cannes — The Da Vinci Code's opening-night premiere is Wednesday in Cannes. The first worldwide press screening is Tuesday night, which means the film is opening in several key territories in Europe, including France, without a single bona fide review having been published.

Vatican — The Pope's pissed.

Italy — The rest of Italy is eager to see The Da Vinci Code, no matter what the Pope says. Box office expectations of $32 million are equal to that of The Passion of the Christ a few years ago. Half the screens in Italy will be showing The Da Vinci Code.

Germany — Weather plays a major role in box office take in this country. Too much sunshine and no one goes to the movies in the summer. Still, grosses as high as $44 million are expected.

United Kingdom — The recent plagiarism trial brought by the authors of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail have kept the English excited about the film's release. The local press has kept interest high.

France — Everyone's ga-ga, and the more the French clergy complain, the higher the enthusiasm for the movie. The Da Vinci Code madness is everywhere. Much of the movie was filmed in France.

Spain — The Da Vinci Code is expected to be the "film of the year." Even bus stops have devices playing the movie's trailers. Opus Dei's headquarters are located in Spain, and the political left in Spain still distrust the secretive group because of their support for Franco decades ago. "You could call the controversy part of the film's marketing campaign, as it does nothing but benefit the movie," one Spanish theatre owner said.

China — Sony is marketing like crazy in China, trying to entice a non-Christian audience who won't understand the Christian concepts in the movie, while keeping the censors happy. Security is said to be high, to keep pirates away from the 400 prints.

Japan — The film is being released on 866 screens, and is expected to break $90 million. The book was a mega-hit, with nearly nine million copies sold.

Korea — Thanks to American missionaries, Christian fundamentalism is an influential force in Korea. The Christian Council of Korea has been fighting the film's release in court since April. The court is not expected to block the movie. The Council has demanded Sony place disclaimers in the movie saying certain elements in the movie are fictional. Sony has not complied.

The Korean public eagerly awaits the film. It is the most anticipated film of the summer.

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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Tom Hanks blasts Da Vinci critics

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Tom Hanks today spoke up against critics of the upcoming film The Da Vinci Code.

Catholics and other Christian groups have called for the movie version of the best-selling book to be boycotted, calling it blasphemous for portraying Jesus as having sired children with Mary Magdalene, and for saying that members of the Catholic group Opus Dei covered up Jesus's secret life.

Oscar-winner Hanks said critics are taking the film too seriously: "We always knew there would be a segment of society that would not want this movie to be shown. But the story we tell is loaded with all sorts of hooey and fun kind of scavenger-hunt-type nonsense. If you are going to take any sort of movie at face value, particularly a huge-budget motion picture like this, you'd be making a very big mistake. It's a damn good story and a lot of fun... all it is is dialogue. That never hurts."

Read more....

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Rosslyn Chapel comes alive with podcasts

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From scotsman.com:
What do the incredible carvings within the grey walls of Rosslyn Chapel really mean? How have the Knights Templar and Masons played a role in the chapel and the family who built the spectacular 15th-century structure right here in Scotland?

These questions and more will be examined in a special five-part video podcast series on Rosslyn Chapel, presented exclusively by Heritage & Culture, the popular website on all things Scottish from scotsman.com.


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Lovely orchids, sin and blasphemy

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The Widow's Son turned me on to author Robert A. Heinlein's fictional worlds several years ago. Some women who have read "just a little" of RAH mistake him for a misogynist, misunderstanding his love and respect for women. Au contraire! RAH not only respected women, but knew how to treat them!

From Wikipedia:
Robert Anson Heinlein (July 7, 1907 – May 8, 1988) was one of the most influential and controversial authors of "hard" science fiction. He set a high standard for science and engineering plausibility that few have equaled, but also helped to raise the genre's standards of literary quality. He was the first writer to break into mainstream general magazines such as The Saturday Evening Post in the late 1940s with unvarnished science fiction. He was among the first authors of bestselling novel-length science fiction in the modern mass-market era. For many years Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke were known as the Big Three of science fiction.

The major themes of Heinlein's work were social: radical individualism, libertarianism, solipsism, religion, the relationship between physical and emotional love, and speculation about unorthodox family relationships. His iconoclastic approach to these themes has led to wildly divergent perceptions of his works. His 1959 novel Starship Troopers was excoriated by some as being fascist. His 1961 novel Stranger in a Strange Land, on the other hand, put him in the unexpected role of pied piper to the sexual revolution and counterculture.

The English language has absorbed several words from his fiction, including "grok," meaning "to understand something so thoroughly that it becomes part of the observer." During his lifetime, beginning with his very first works in the later 1930s, he was also a major influence on many other writers, who tried to emulate, with varying degrees of success, the apparently effortless skill with which he blended speculative concepts and fast-paced storytelling.

Heinlein won four Hugo Awards for his novels following the year of publication. In addition, fifty years after publication, three of Heinlein's works were awarded "Retro Hugos" — awards given retrospectively for years in which no Hugos had been awarded. He also won the first Grand Master Award given by the Science Fiction Writers of America for lifetime achievement.

Here are some of my favorite quotations from various books by Robert A. Heinlein, who lifted from this planet on May 8, 1988.

— Mary
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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Ggreat Ggrail Hunt: Find the Holy Grail where Dan Brown said it wasn't

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Now that the Da Vinci Code Quest on Google game is over, it's time to turn your attention to the Ggreat Ggrail Hunt sponsored by GrouchoGandhi.com.

While Southern Baptists and Catholics want to convince you that the Jesus and Mary bloodline talked about in The Da Vinci Code doesn't exist, GrouchoGandhi has far more serious fish to fry. His game will, when played to the end, present you with incontrovertible FaCTs — absolute proof — that a major passage in The Da Vinci Code is "not only wrong, but flat-out false."

The game is to find the Holy Grail in Da Vinci's The Last Supper painting, where Dan Brown, in The Da Vinci Code, said it isn't.

From The Da Vinci Code:
Sophie paused, realizing it was the trick question. And after dinner, Jesus took the cup of wine, sharing it with His disciples. "One cup," she said. "The chalice." The Cup of Christ. The Holy Grail. "Jesus passed a single chalice of wine, just as modern Christians do at communion."

Teabing sighed. "Open your eyes."

She did. Teabing was grinning smugly. Sophie looked down at the painting, seeing to her astonishment that everyone at the table had a glass of wine, including Christ. Thirteen cups. Moreover, the cups were tiny, stemless, and made of glass. There was no chalice in the painting. No Holy Grail.

You also might want to take another look at the SacredFems.com article from last week Have Dan Brown's Secret Notes for "The Solomon Key" been decoded and brought to light? about the possible leak of Dan Brown's notes about his upcoming book The Solomon Key. The book reportedly features Mormons, Freemasons, more anagrams, the Georgia Guidestones, and the sacred geometry, architecture and street layout of Washington, D.C.

Our visitor statistics program shows that the SacredFems.com articles So Dark the Con of Man and Have Dan Brown's Secret Notes for "The Solomon Key" been decoded and brought to light? have been hammered by several thousand visitors today after Google listed us as the number two result on the search phrase "so dark the con of man" anagram. (Number one is some site selling coffee mugs and t-shirts with a The Da Vinci Code theme — nothing informative there.)

The article on Brown's notes about The Solomon Key contain many cryptic words which are possibly anagrams that may lead to further illumination.

Enjoy the Ggreat Ggrail Hunt. Your eyes will be astonished once they're opened.

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