Don't Panic! Lighten Up!
Richard Owen The Times
Fri, 02 Mar 2007 11:14 CST
An arch-conservative cardinal chosen by the Pope to deliver this year's Lenten meditations to the Vatican hierarchy has caused consternation by giving warning of an Antichrist who is "a pacifist, ecologist and ecumenist".
Cardinal Giacomo Biffi, 78, who retired as Archbishop of Bologna three years ago, quoted Vladimir Solovyov (1853-1900), the Russian philosopher and mystic, as predicting that the Antichrist "will convoke an ecumenical council and seek the consensus of all the Christian confessions".
The "masses" would follow the Antichrist, "with the exception of small groups of Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants" who would fight to prevent the watering down and ultimate destruction of the faith, he said.
TAMPA, Fla. -- A man who can no longer feed himself said an uncooked chicken burrito put him in a wheelchair.
Anderson said he ate the burrito at a Moe's Southwest Grill in Land O' Lakes in September and became sick with stomach cramps, diarrhea and joint pains.
Thu, 01 Mar 2007 16:13 CST
ST. PETERSBURG, Florida -- She sipped pickle juice, held her breath, breathed into a bag, even went to a neurologist, but for more than five weeks nothing would stop a 15-year-old girl's rapid hiccups -- until they finally just stopped on their own.
After trying countless remedies and attracting national media attention, Jennifer Mee said her hiccups suddenly stopped around 5 p.m. Wednesday. No one is certain why.
Kevin Russell found out it's not easy trying to cash a check from God. The 21-year-old man was arrested Monday after he tried to cash a check for $50,000 at the Chase Bank in Hobart that was signed "King Savior, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Servant," Hobart police Detective Jeff White said.
Russell was charged with one count attempted check fraud and one count intimidation, both felonies, and one count resisting law enforcement, a misdemeanor. He could face prison time.
Police were called to the bank after Russell tried to cash the check, which was written on an invalid Bank One check with no imprint, White said. Russell had several other checks with him that were signed the same way but made out in different dollar amounts, including one for $100,000.
by Edward O'NeillThe Spoof
Thu, 01 Mar 2007 09:42 CST
|The mystery is solved! The plane that hit the Pentagon emerged from the mists of the Bermuda Triangle and returned thence...
There is perhaps nothing more stereotypically masculine than war.
It's not that there haven't been women inclined to make war, but this need to hit, to thrust, to dominate, to claim supremacy is downright boyish. And there has perhaps been no U.S. presidential administration more unrelentingly macho than this one.
Naples - A 74-year-old Italian grandmother who bought a sack of potatoes at the her local market found a live grenade among the spuds.
"I found a bomb in the potatoes," Olga Mauriello said.
ALLEN SALKINNY Times
Wed, 28 Feb 2007 11:32 CST
THERE are some surprising secrets behind "The Secret."
For one, most of the millions of people who have seen "The Secret," a documentary that is the biggest thing to hit the New Age movement since the Harmonic Convergence, may not know that there are two versions of the film.
Free the Chippendales Eight! A Texas prosecutor has decided not to press charges against a cadre of male adult dancers who were busted earlier this month at a Lubbock sports bar for dancing suggestively in front of 1100 female fans.
Revelers' beer bingeing episodes on Fat Tuesday and somber Catholic masses on Ash Wednesday are traditionally viewed as far removed from each other. One day is filled with an excess of food, drink and hedonistic pleasure seeking. The other is a day when the devout begin to cleanse themselves with an ashen mark of the cross on the forehead and forego those bad habits - well at least for 40 days. The mood may be different, but religion, drugs, drug users and the devout share a kinship in their experiences, attitudes and behavior.
While religion may, indeed, affect the brain in ways similar to drugs, that doesn't mean that drug induced "religious states" are the same thing. Just as drinking too much coffee to ward off tiredness can lead to psychotic states because the caffeine molecule binds to the adenosine receptor and blocks the adenosine "tiredness" signal which leads to a cascade of bodily reactions, including sleep, so can drugs block natural neurotransmitters produced within the body in response to true religious states that lead to another cascade of reactions that the drug induced states block. Drugs short circuit the receptors they bind with, blocking natural processes.
Religious experiences certainly can be counterfeited, by various mind- altering techniques or drugs, but the true experience can be measured by its power to bring about personal and moral transformation towards what is good and constructive - what Zoroastrians call the path of ASHA, or Righteousness.
Concerning the original shamanic experience ... narcotics are only a vulgar substitute for "pure" trance.
The use of intoxicants is a recent innovation and points to a decadence in shamanic technique. Narcotic intoxication is called on to provide an imitation of a state that the shaman is no longer capable of attaining otherwise. Decadence or vulgarization of a mystical technique - in ancient and modern India, and indeed all through the East, we constantly find this strange mixture of "difficult ways" and "easy ways" of realizing mystical ecstasy or some other decisive experience. [Eliade, Shamanism, Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy, pp. 396-401.]