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Either Michel de Nostredame wrote the ultimate literary Rorschach test, or else Nostradamus accurately predicted the future course of civilization until its ultimate end. Or as the Straight Dope’s Uncle Cecil puts it:
There are two schools of thought on Nostradamus: either (1) he had supernatural powers which enabled him to prophesy the future with uncanny accuracy, or (2) he did for bullshit what Stonehenge did for rocks.
Uncle Cecil votes for No. 2, but either way, the Centuries of Nostradamus are a fun and fruitless way to pass the years of your life unproductively while nevertheless maintaining a sense of high purpose.
Born in 1503, Nostradamus himself was a French doctor, who later ventured into astrology. In the former, he was noteworthy but not especially memorable. He fought the Great Plague well enough to earn a lifelong pension, after which he gave up medicine and took up prophecy.
In the latter field, he has attained an unrivaled stature. Nostradamus wrote a series of prophetic verses, known as the Centuries for their 100-line length (and not because they chronicle the coming centuries). He wrote another batch of prophecies known as the Presages or Prognostications around the mid-16th century. All of his work was written in French, as quatrains (stanzas of four lines).
Nostradamus himself believed his so-called gift of seeing the future was occultism or some form of sorcery. The technique was simple:
Gathered at night in study deep I sate, Alone, upon the tripod stool of brass, Exiguous flame came out of solitude, Promise of magic that may be believed.
The brass tripod supported a bowl of water or a candle, into which Nostradamus gazed in order to see his visions, a technique called “scrying.” There are various accounts which describe rituals of greater or lesser complexity around this basic activity. Any one’s as good as the other. You get the basic idea.
According to legend, Nostradamus kept much of his work secret at first, for fear of being dragged before the Inquisition as a witch. Eventually, he decided that his gift was more important than his fear, and he published his prophecies beginning in 1555. The church did eventually condemn him as a heretic, but they had the courtesy to wait until after his death in 1566.
The contents of the Centuries and the rest have become a matter of some debate. That’s not because there’s any deep scholarly issue with the original manuscripts. Rather, it’s because the only way you’re going to be able to check the prophecies against reality is with a museum-vetted copy of the 1555 manuscript and a doctorate in Medieval French.
Starting about 30 seconds after his death, fans of Nostradamus began taking liberties with the text in order to make the passages match up better. If that wasn’t bad enough, most of the material is cryptic, massively symbolic and arcanely astrological even when properly translated.
Enthusiasts explain that this obscure writing was intended to keep the Inquisitors away. That’s as good a response as any. The net effect of the style is that the quatrains are… well, let’s call them vague. Skeptics argue that you can twist them around to mean whatever you want them to mean. Adherents argue that the prophecies are startlingly accurate and plenty specific.
The skeptics are fighting a losing battle. Between the loose translations and the outright revisionism, the adherents have had a field day going over the many “hits” in the Centuries.
Consider, for instance, the most famous of Nostradamus’s predictions: The coming of Adolf Hitler. Well, maybe. This is pretty much the Holy Grail of Nostradamus prophecies (aside from the forged 9/11 passage, of which we will say more momentarily). Erika Cheetham, author of The Final Prophecies of Nostradamus, corrects the obvious misspelling of “Hister” to “Hitler” in her translation, as Nostradamus enthusiasts are wont: BÃªtes farouches de faim fleuves tranner; Plus part du champ encore Hister sera, En caige de fer le grand sera treisner, Quand rien enfant de Germain observa.
Beasts wild with hunger will cross the rivers, The greater part of the battle will be against Hitler. He will cause great men to be dragged in a cage of iron, When the son of Germany obeys no law. Whoa!! That sure sounds like Hitler! Of course, when skeptic James Randi translated the verse, he got something a little different. Unlike Cheetham, Randi interprets Hister as a reference to the lower Danube river, a section of which is actually named Hister. The Randi version:
Beasts mad with hunger will swim across rivers, Most of the army will be against the Lower Danube. The great one shall be dragged in an iron cage When the child brother will observe nothing. Uhhhhh.. Yeah, that’s, uh, well, uh… Not so much the Third Reich. A third translation, lifted from the nonpartisan Sacred-Texts.com, splits the difference:
Beasts ferocious from hunger will swim across rivers: The greater part of the region will be against the Hister, The great one will cause it to be dragged in an iron cage, When the German child will observe nothing. r. Not so clear. You can’t really tell from this whether Nostradamus was really foretelling Hitler. In fact, it’s damned hard to figure how the idea these verse actually applied to Hitler ever came about. Actually, it’s not that hard to figure. Hitler himself decided that the verses were about him and disseminated the idea for one of the most dramatic successes in the history of propaganda.
We could go on and on, but we predict… Nay, we prophesy that others have done it before, and will do it again, without changing the minds of those whose minds were made up before they read the first word of this article. Suffice to say, it’s wise to take the Prophecies of Nostradamus with a grain of salt… or maybe a whole shake
Especially if those prophecies seem to pertain to 9/11. One quatrain was circulated with great hysteria in the immediate aftermath of al Qaeda’s attack on the United States on September 11, 2001, destroying the twin towers of the World Trade Center and damaging the Pentagon. It read:
In the City of God there will be a great thunder, Two brothers torn apart by Chaos, While the fortress endures, the great leader will succumb, The third big war will begin when the big city is burning.
Theoretically, the “City of God” is New York City. Why is that? Fuck it, who cares. Maybe it’s Washington, D.C., which is only slightly less godless than the Big Apple. Put that aside. The “two brothers” would then be the “twin towers,” the fortress is the Pentagon, etc.
If you got this passage in an e-mail forward, you might have noticed that it was dated to 1654. This presents a problem since that date is nearly 100 years after Nostradamus died. Whoops! Turns out the “quatrain” was written by Neil Marshall, a college student, in a paper entitled “A Critical Analysis of Nostradamus.”
The point of the fake quatrain was — you guessed it — to demonstrate how Nostradamus-style writing can be twisted around to mean just about anything.
Another variant on the “9/11 prophecy” reads as follows:
Two steel birds will fall from the sky On the Metropolis. The sky will burn At forty-five degrees latitude. Fire approaches the great new city.
If you’re thinking that sounds a little too good to be true, well, you’re right. For one thing, NYC is at 40 degrees latitude — something like 350 miles off. On the bright side, however, this verse is actually loosely based on the following real quatrain:
At forty-five degrees the sky will burn, Fire to approach the great new city: In an instant a great scattered flame will leap up, When one will want to demand proof of the Normans.
What does it mean? Tough call. The Norse haven’t exactly been a major force in the world recently. The event, whatever it was, was predicted for somewhere between 1996 and 1998, according to astrological dating and a list of popes in the Nostradamus texts, or at least that’s what the Nostradamus FAQ tells us. The sky didn’t especially burn at that time, or at least not so as you’d notice.
And therein lies the difficulty. We have to take someone else’s word for it, because there’s barely anyone qualified to intepret the Prophecies of Nostradamus, even though you can find lots and lots of people who will try anyway. Nothing happened in 1996? Hell, make it 2001, and make the 45 degrees into 40 while you’re at it. Who’s qualified to tell you you’re wrong? Let’s see their doctorate in Medieval French…
Is Nostradamus a fraud, or a visionary? There’s a verse from the Centuries that sums it up best:
When the still sea conspires an armor, and her sullen and aborted currents breed tiny monsters, true sailing is dead! Awkward instant and the first animal is jettisoned.
You see, all the various interpretations are the “tiny monsters,” and the “sullen and aborted currents” are waves of skepticism. “True sailing” means the real understanding of the prophecies, but the animal being jettisoned is…
Oh, never mind.
Best Clubs in the World to Party In
Fancy a night out that could change your life? Want to lose your inhibitions, push the boundaries and experience something new or exciting? There are some clubs in the world that take evening entertainment to a whole other level and bring an excitement not usually found in clubs. Check out these beauties and prepare for a mind blowing experience.
The box is full of surprises. There is very little sign on approach the box contains an evening of delight and fantasy that has never been done before in london. Itâ€™s a journey into the unknown so be prepared for any eventuality. Expect to be entertained and titilated like you have never been before. It is the lovechild of a circus and a burlesque club. There are always entertainers amongst the crowd, ready to amaze and surprise. Often some nudity creeps in but itâ€™s all in the name of fun. Itâ€™s a good idea to leave closed minds and inhibitions at the door, as the world of the box is unlike any mortal place that you have been before. It certainly is a walk on the wild side.
Want to head for a well established, beautiful yet surreal venue, usually packed to the rafters with the A list crowd? Well, the obvious choice would be Funky Buddha. It holds reign in the heart of Piccadilly, attracting the good and the beautiful from around London and the world. Funky Buddha is a world that is very luxurious and creative. The theme of the club merges the far east, Buddhism, cool beats and food that will melt in your mouth. It makes for a wild night on in London. Check out the waterfall, the cool seating areas and the music. This club has sisters around the globe because the format is unbeatable.
Los Angeles can be a dull affair when you are seeking out a night to remember. Bar licences can really put a damper upon the proceedings, as well as jaded music and pretentious spaces. Avalon has been LAâ€™s superclub for 90 years. Yes, you read that right – 90 years. It has kept the happy people of LA entertained for almost a century for some pretty impressive reasons. Firstly, the bar has the golden alcohol licence, it is open for 24 hours a day. This means that whatever your body clock demands, there is a great party going on in the club. Great music is what makes a wild night out Â possible. Imagine having crazy fun without the beats that will get your group moving. Well, how about a club that has had resident DJs such as Sacha? It speaks volumes that the club has nurtured the super stars of club DJs and has a history of looking after the most talented on the circuit. Then there is the venue. It isnâ€™t the slick, shiny venue you might hope for but a cavern-like old theatre with tonnes of atmosphere and character. Want to have an amazing night/morning with friends and listen to some classy music? Avalon has all the potential for a wild night out.
There is a place in Sydney that has the ingredients for an unforgettable night. Tokyo Sing Song has entertainers that will amuse and freak you out, dancers of the type that you have never seen before and music that will make you both laugh and cry. Every weekend is shrouded in mystery. No two are alike or even remotely predictable. there are drag queens, karaoke disasters, comedy to make you cry, wild dancing and some very unusual outfits on parade. this is a place to attend when you are ready to go wild. Enjoy this one off experience.
Put down the donuts and pick up an apple
Did we ever think the day would arrive when Homer Simpson would be taking the blame for society’s poor lifestyle choices?
Well that day is upon us friends, sad as that may seem.
Hypnotherapist Miller has written to The Simpsons creator Matt Groening to urge him to make Homer â€œput down the donuts and pick up an apple.
Miller believes that Homers unhealthy lifestyle and penchant for Duff beer and junk food is sending out a dangerous message to fans of the popular show.
Of course, we all believe our favourite Simpsons character to be genuine role models â€“ only a fool would think otherwise…Dâ€™oh!
Homerâ€™s insightful outlook on life makes him a terrific source of advice…
byÂ Â antoinedemorrisÂ
Homerâ€™s take on life
Homer has been a part of our lives for so long, we sometimes forget heâ€™s there.
Loveably enduring, the magic of The Simpsonâ€™s means that while everything around us changes rapidly, Homer stays just the same.
Who can forget his simplistic explanation to Lisa on how gambling enhances the good things in life?
Homer: You like ice cream, don’t you?
Homer: And do you like it even better when it has hot fudge, caramel, whipped cream, cherries, chocolate chips, and crumbled-up cookie things. Mmmmm…. crumbled-up cookie things.
Lisa: So gambling makes a good thing even better.
Homer: Yes, it is like there is some kind of bond between us.
The magic of Homer J Simpson!
No doubt Homer would approve of the casino bonuses and no deposit bonuses available at http://www.bonusmob.com.
Experts like Miller will insist we check out the Responsible Gambling section at the bottom of the page before starting!
The genius that gave Homer Simpson to the world, Mr Matt Groening. After almost 25 years on our screens, it seems a bit late to blame Homer for poor lifestyles now!
byÂ Â Gage SkidmoreÂ
Famous Homer Simpson Quotes â€“ the legend that is Homer has given us some pearls of wisdom through the years. Here are some of our favourites.
- â€œI’m normally not a praying man, but if you’re up there, please save me Superman.â€
- â€œKids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try.â€
- â€œBart, with $10,000, weâ€™d be millionaires! We could buy all kinds of useful things likeâ€¦love!â€
- â€œFacts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that’s even remotely true.â€
Homer the global icon
Incredibly, it seems Miller is genuine in his belief that Homerâ€™s carefree lifestyle and attitude towards food and drink is setting a bad example to the world at large.
“Homer is one of the most iconic faces in the entire world and is loved by everyone and thatâ€™s why itâ€™s a massive concern,” he went on.
â€œHomerâ€™s indulgent habits make it seem like being fat is okayâ€¦Being fat isnâ€™t good, there are many health risks and negative effectives attached to it.â€
As Homer himself would doubtless point out, Miller seems to have confused â€˜real-ityâ€™ with â€˜car-toonsâ€™.
How to prepare for a psychic reading
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How to prepare for a psychic reading
Psychic readings are becoming commonplace these days, especially now that so many psychics make themselves available for online readings. You can easily find a psychic to do your reading for you at a site like Psychic Living. The good thing about choosing an association website like this is that each of the psychics on the site will have been scrutinised before being allowed to advertise on the site. Youâ€™ll also find a range of different psychics including angel and tarot readers, mediums and clairvoyants.
For many people, a psychic reading will be something new and you may be wondering what you need to do to get ready for it. In short, thereâ€™s not a lot thatâ€™s required of you, but it helps to have an idea of what to expect and how to prepare.
1. Write down your questions. Itâ€™s easy to go off topic when you have a reading, and if you have certain issues you are really keen to discuss, itâ€™s best to tick them off a list as you cover them. That way, you donâ€™t forget anything important. Donâ€™t be afraid to be specific. The more detailed you can be, the easier it will be for a psychic to help tune into your concerns.
2. Take time to be calm. Take a few minutes before your appointment to be quiet and reflective. Donâ€™t rush around doing chores right up to the last moment as youâ€™ll be less open to the reading and what you might gain from it. Try and empty your mind of clutter about day to day life, so you can focus on the reading.
3. Limit distractions. In the same vein, make sure that youâ€™re not going to be disturbed during the reading â€“ by other people in the house, by the phone or doorbell. Turn off other electrical equipment and close down other windows and programmes on your computer.
By making these simple preparations, you should get the most benefit out of a psychic reading. Youâ€™ll be ready to listen to the insights that a psychic can offer you and you should come away from the reading with a clearer understanding of your current life situation and the path you are travelling on.
The Coolest Casinos in the World
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The Coolest Casinos in the World
There are many unique casinos scattered across the globe that can make excellent tourist destinations. One of the coolest casinos in the world is located in an unexpected place, Germany. The Baden-Baden Casino has become synonymous with world class gambling. The Baden-Baden is distinctive for its opulent dÃ©cor. In fact, it has a rather luxurious French air to it with red carpet, gold moulding and sparkling crystal chandeliers. Many visitors to the Baden-Baden feel like royalty when visiting the casino. The casino also offers some of the best gambling with promising odds.
Many casino gamblers find that for day to day play, online casinos such as http://www.jackpotcity.co.uk/mobile-casino/iphone/ provide the best option. These casinos can be easily accessed from home as well as from many mobile devices. Therefore, it is quite convenient to play when the fancy strikes. Online casinos never close which make them suitable to fit into any schedule. While playing at an online casino can fulfill day to day purposes, sometimes gamblers want to get away from it all while enjoying some of the finest gambling in the world.
World travelers can also find one of the top casinos in Kazakhstan, another unlikely location. Here, the Casino Zodiac has fast become a draw for gamblers from across the globe. Like the Baden-Baden, many visitors cite the ambience of the facility for its success.
Another one of the coolest casinos in the world isnâ€™t far from Germany; in fact it is located right in the heart of London. The Empire is the largest casino in the capitol. Well known games such as blackjack, punto banco and roulette can be found here. The Empire provides an extensive amount of tables and machines to accommodate their large patronage. One thing for which the Empire is known is its top of the line cuisine.
Poltergeist Possibility or Plumbing Problems?
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Poltergeist Possibility or Plumbing Problems?
People react differently when they hear strange bumps in the night. They either believe that they are imagining things or something bigger may be going on. For some, it is thought that ghosts are making these odd sounds. Theories have swarmed from city to city and country to country, but nevertheless prompted many to call in the real-life ghostbusters.
SyFy Channelâ€™s â€œGhost Huntersâ€ is a show with well-renowned paranormal experts who have been trained by the best of the best. Â â€œOdd noises are rarely caused by other worldly things,â€ said Ghost Hunter Jason Hawes. â€œMost of the time, these unexplained, strange noises are actually a sign of plumbing problems that can, in most instances, be easily fixed.â€Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson were taught how to work on fixtures by the #1 plumbing and drain service, Roto-Rooter. A decade later, Hawes and Wilson brought their talents onto the television screen and attracted the masses.
Thanks to Roto-Rooter, many of the once unexplainable have become easily crystal clear. Something simple such as a loose or eroded pipe can interestingly cause weird sounds and cause the homeowner to become suspicious.Â Roto Rooter Fall Plumbing Tips can be utilized in case of trouble and can be found on their website www.Roto-Rooter.com.
CIA Spy Tricks
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CIA Spy Tricks
For decades, rumors of top-secret “magic” manuals swirled within CIA circles.
The long-lost guides were said to have been written by a prominent magician, but many officers dismissed them as myth, believing them too fantastical to be true.
But in 2007, retired CIA officer Robert Wallace unearthed an extraordinary archived file and is now making its contents available to the public for the first time.
The file contained once highly-classified manuals written in the early 1950s by American magician John Mulholland that detailed the secrets of magic that could enhance the art of espionage.
It was thought that every copy of his reports had been destroyed in 1973.
But Wallace obtained surviving copies and, with intelligence historian H. Keith Melton, combined the two manuals — one examining sleight of hand techniques and the other on covert signaling — into one book, recently released by publisher HarperCollins.
Complete with illustrations, “The Official C.I.A. Manual of Trickery and Deception” describes a wide range of Mulholland’s Houdini-like tricks designed to help spies pull off a number of clandestine operations, such as slipping poison into an enemy’s drink or surreptitiously removing documents.
Other magician-historians previously established Mulholland’s connection to the CIA and printed portions of his reports â€“ and one, Michael Edwards, said he received full copies of the reports from the CIA in 2003. But the authors say their book is the first to publish the historical documents in their entirety.