Monday, March 30, 2009

Mediums acquire grant to talk to the dead

I'm definitely in the wrong business. Yet once again a government has given a grant of questionable merit - at least IMHO.

Two people who should have psychic powers, recently received a grant to teach people how to communicate with the dead. Here I thought that this could be achieved by drinking too much coffee according to another report but I digress...

The psychics, Paul and Deborah Rees received £4,500 from the Welsh government's Want2Work job creation program. The recipients will be using the money to help people contact friends and relatives "on the other side." To be expected critics and presumably ordinary people are shocked and the Department of work and Pensions bureaucrats and Welsh Assembly has launched an investigation.

For their part the mediums claim the "mere £4,500" of public money will be put to good use at their centre the Accolade Academy of Psychic and Mediumistic Studies. Accolade? Weird choice of words and according to an Internet dictionary source, the meaning is "any award, honor, or laudatory notice." Given the negative reaction generally, perhaps they should drop the "accolade" in the name of their academy.

"Our job is to provide substantial evidence to bring ease to people's grieving - and that's what I would say to people who query the award" commented Paul Rees, a former upholsterer.

"It is an utter disgrace that taxpayers' money is being wasted and given to an organisation that believes it can teach people how to communicate with the dead" said Tory Welsh Assembly member, Jonathan Morgan.

There is no information as to if the psychic couple will be charging for their services and neither is there anything available regarding their curriculum. Perhaps Ohmmmmmm101 and related courses.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

They're (could be) heeeere - according to British UFO files

Remember those crop circles that were in the news a while back, allegedly created by - insert Twilight Zone music - aliens? A British woman walking her dog in a field claims to have actually met up with a blond, Scandinavian-looking alien with a Scandinavian-like accent, who admitted to her that crop circles were created by some of his extra-terrestrial pals.

This was one of many stories part of the third UFO file documents to be released by the British Ministry of Defence covering the years from 1987 - 1993.

Back to the woman-and-her-dog encounter... Even though he - the alien - was told not to have an earthly contact, he felt that it was important to speak to one of our kind. Understandably, she ran home but upon hearing a loud buzzing noise, she turned to see a large, spherical object, glowing orange-white, rise steadily moving out of sight.

Then there are reports with a logical explanation like the report filed in 1992 of a
a bright cigar-shaped object seen flying silently over central London at night. It was later identified "almost certainly" as an illuminated airship advertising the Ford Mondeo car.

There is no information as to whether or not the woman and her pet had visited the local pub for a few pints prior to the encounter, which could be an explanation for the blond Scandinavian connection. I mean, why would the alien choose a Scandinavian accent given that he/she was in England? Maybe the alien miscalculated the coordinates of the landing and ended up in England instead of Scandinavia. Perhaps - just perhaps - there was another landing in Scandinavia with the alien having a British accent! It's a good an explanation as any. One can only speculate.

"The vast majority of reports are ordinary things seen in extraordinary situations," says UFO expert, Dr. David Clarke.

The files, which can be downloaded from the National Archives website, are being released as part of a three-year project.

There's a hand-drawn picture for those interested in a "crescent-shaped moon object, shaped like a banana. Maybe blue in colour. Arm and leg shapes hanging from lower end" taken from a 1989 report here:

Too bad Muldaur and Scully aren't around to solve the mystery.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

God responds to phone messages left on His voice mail

Whereupon, artist, Johan Van der Dong, has provided a hotline, whereby people can connect to/with God via phone, and G-d returns His voice mail.

Hello, Hans? This is G-d returning your phone call."


"G-d? The Big Guy? The All Powerful and Mighty?"

"Ohhhhhhh...yeah. Sorry. I didn't recognize your voice for a minute. You're such a jerk! I mean - c'mon!"

"Pardon? Perhaps you're thinking of someone else? My personna has always been a source of speculation and strife - the two big "S's" - among religions."

"Stop fooling around, Phil. I know it's you!"

"Listen - I have a lot of return phone calls to make. Gazillions, even...all over the planet, earth. Then I have to look in on the wars and the dying people... So what can I do for you?"

"Yeah -surrrrre. Okay. Let's see... Today is Wednesday and you're working at Mario's, right? I'll take one all-dressed pizza and one vegetarian. This time make sure it's hot or no tip for you!"

"Seriously, I'm not Philip. I'm really...G-d!"

"You always did have a big ego, Phil! Now you're calling yourself G-d? You're pushing your luck, Phil!"

"Why do I bother? So many calls to make and so little time and somebody wants a pizza delivery."

"'t you want my new address? I moved last week!"

"Trust me - I know. Now if there's nothing else..."

"Now that you mention it, there is one more thing. Can you send along an order of onion rings?"

Monday, March 09, 2009

"Hello God? Guess who?"

Given the busy schedules of people these days, finding time to connect to a "Higher Power" isn't always possible. However a dutch artist, Johan Van der Dong, appears to have taken this into account and has provided a hotline, whereby people can connect to/with God via phone.

The purpose of God's Hotline as it has become known is to focus attention on the means in which Dutch people perceive religion. To this end the artist selected a mobile phone number to underline that God was available anywhere and anytime.

Actually, it's part of Van der Dong's art installation in the town of Groningen and anyone calling will receive the message:

"This is the voice of God, I am not able to speak to you at the moment, but please leave a message."

To date 1,000 messages have been recorded and the messages are confidential and not part of the art project.

"I'm not a pastor, I'm an artist and I won't listen to the messages. It's a secret between the Lord and the people who are calling."

Hmmmm... I wonder if and what the "real" Supreme Being feels about this concept. Mind you, you hav'ta give the artist credit for ingenuity and a means to attract attention to himself and his work. More interesting is what type of message God would leave on our answering machines.

"Hello John Smith. This is God responding to your message left on my answering machine, yesterday..."

The phone number for anyone interested in leaving a message is:

The telephone number is 06-4424-4901 for callers in the Netherlands and +316-4424-4901 for those from other countries.

Friday, March 06, 2009

I'm twitter-ing and I'm not a bird!

Can't exactly recall the reason behind my decision but the other day I decided to Twitter. It's especially puzzling since I'm also a Facebook-er or should that be Facebook-ee? Seems that Twitter is the place to be now according to the people in the know i.e. friends, cyber aquaintances, media types.

Comparatively-speaking, there is no distinguishable differences in my eyes other than Twitter is relegated to a one sentence statement: "What Are You Doing?" That's it! Nothing else! On the other hand Facebook asks the same question of members but recognized "friends" can join and allowing for comments. For example:

"Eleanor is feeling blechy today."

Sympathetic accepted "friends" could, if they felt like it, jump in with co-commiserations like, "hope you feel better soon!" or "tough!" and then a dialogue could be initiated until the subject is exhausted.

According to Twitter's raison d'etre, "Twitter asks one question, "What are you doing?" Answers must be under 140 characters in length and can be sent via mobile texting, instant message, or the web."

A word limitation of 140 characters is really asking a lot of a writer since we love to embrace words besides which, how could one properly express oneself in 140 characters? Then again there's the issue of how many people really want to know what anyone is doing at any given moment?

"I'm now loading the dishwasher," I could communicate to anyone who cares. Or "sitting in the dentist's office reading five year old magazines and waiting to have my yearly examination and my teeth cleaned." Wait a minute - is that more than 140 characters? See what I mean?

Somehow I now have John Mayer on my Twitter home page. Not that I'm objecting or anything because John is very easy on the eyes and I absolutely love his song, "Waiting On the World to Change." In addition I'm also subscribed to Wil Wheaton - remember him as Ensign Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation, which I still love btw - and George Stephanopoulos of ABC News. Still, it is curious how these three were selected for me.

Be that as it may, I'm listed somewhere in the Twitter directory if you happen to seek me out. However, darned if I can come up with anybody who would want to know what I'm doing within 140 characters and therefore have not approached or listed any friends.


However, I'm atwitter if anyone asks.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Out of Viagra? Try rotten eggs instead

Keeping a dozen outdated and rotten eggs on hand in the refrigerator could come in handy during those special intimate occasions. According to researchers, the odor emitted by rotten eggs could be an alternative to Viagra. Seems that hydrogen sulphide prompts arousal in men with key nerve cells that release minute amounts of gas when a male becomes sexually aroused, causing blood vessels to relax and fill with blood. This is the process that sustains an erection.

University of Naples researcher, Professor Cirino is suggesting that it could be possible to develop drugs which will either deliver hydrogen sulphide or control hydrogen sulphide production.

"Of course, the hydrogen sulphide pathway represents a new therapeutic target for erectile dysfunction. These observations may lead to the development of therapeutic approaches in the treatment of erectile dysfunction."

The results, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, are particularly significant since approximately one-third of men with erectile dysfunction do not respond to Viagra. It's believed that half of all men aged between 40 and 70 suffer from the problem at some stage.

Taking this to the extreme, if science and pharmaceutical companies do discover a way to bottle hydrogen sulphide in pill form, how could one distinguish whether males are passing gas or horny? Just wondering...

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

I say - cricket origins might not be British

Exciting news regarding a report with new academic research claiming that cricket isn't English (gasp!) but imported from northern Belgium.

The basis for this conclusion was a poem thought to have been penned in 1533, suggesting that its humble beginnings were in Flanders. The word attributed to one John Skelton, Flemish weavers are labelled "kings of crekettes" challenging the assumption that the sport evolved from English children's games, according to Paul Campbell of the Australian National University.

King of crekettes? Perhaps - just perhaps - the term didn't refer to cricket but - wait for it - croquettes, the food! I mean, the Belgians are known for their waffles. Somehow, maybe there was a cross or mixup... get back to this surprising discovery... The first references to cricket turned up in England in the 1600's when fines were given out for people who opted to play cricket and missed church. A game played by a lot of Englishmen ended up in public schools and the universities of Oxford and Cambridge in the following century. Furthermore, the first cricket club was formed in Hambledon in the 1760s and the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) was founded in 1787.

So now we all know the British origin of cricket. However...

German academic Heiner Gillmeister and an Australian colleague, claim the discovery proves the quintessential English pastime is anything but English.

In an apparent reference to cricket in the 16th Century work, The Image of Ipocrisie, attributed to the English poet John Skelton, refers to Flemish weavers who settled in southern and eastern England described as "kings of crekettes."

Again? Perhaps these Flemish weavers enjoyed croquettes for lunch, but does that make the game Flemish?

The assumption is that the weavers brought the game to England and played it close to where they looked after their sheep, using shepherd's crooks as bats.

Or perhaps they used over-cooked croquettes as balls or something... Go know!

Research conducted by one Mr. Campell, was based on earlier investigations by German academic, Gillmeister, a linguist from the University of Bonn, who believes that cricket couldn't have originated in England.

"There is no way to relate the term to any existing English word," he told the BBC.
"I was brought up with Flemish children and I know the language well. I immediately thought of the Flemish phrase 'met de krik ketsen' which means to 'chase a ball with a curved stick'."
In response, cricket historian David Frith said, "It is hard to deny that this is a breakthrough. This discovery points to an addition to the great history of cricket. It's exciting we haven't yet written the final word on it."

I don't know if this news falls in the "exciting" category but it's thought-provoking. Cricket...croquettes...makes one think, yes?