August 8-12, 2002
Wescott allows us several saints for today. Actually, twenty to twenty-five Christians were put to death for being kind to some other Christians; but only one of them is worthy of our attention:
Cyriacus seemed to be the leader of the band and was singled out for particular barbarities prior to execution: the rope, the wooden horse, the bath of pitch,2 and interminable flogging.
Apparently THOCBDC has opened the door rather widely ... more guests that we had anticipated are asking to sit at the table. Today THE INTERNATIONAL SQUARE EARTH SOCIETY wants your ear:
By Roger M. Wilcox
Last updated 15-March-2002
It is a well-established Biblical fact that the Earth is flat and immobile. Every good Biblical literalist knows the Scriptural passages which demonstrate that the Earth does not move and that its surface is not curved: Daniel 4:10-11, Matthew 4:8, Joshua 10:12, 1 Chronicles 16:30, Psalms 93:1 & 96:10 & 104:5, Isaiah 45:18; the list goes on and on.
But far too many lazy Biblical literalists today ignore the plain fact that the Bible also tells us that the flat Earth does not have curved edges. Even the late, great Charles K. Johnson, the valiant fighter for the Truth who carried the message of the earlier Zetetic Astronomers forward into the twentieth and twenty-first centuries by founding the International Flat Earht Society, made the grievous error of assuming that the Earth was shaped like a circular disk. Nothing could be further from the Truth.
The Biblically possible shapes of the Earth
The Book of Revelation, chapter 7, verse 1, makes the following unmistakable statement about the shape of the Earth:
"After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree."
This clearly shows that the Earth has exactly four corners. One might argue that the edges of the Earth between these four corners could be curved. But look at the following passages in the Book of Job:
Both of these passages clearly state that the earth has ends - that is, straight edges. This, combined with the four corners provided in Revelation 7:1, means that the Earth must be some kind of quadrilateral shape. The possibilities are:
Narrowing down the possibilities
We can find more information about the shape of the Earth in the Book of Isaiah:
A quarter, of course, means exactly one-fourth. In order for the Earth to have four quarters, it must be of a shape that is divisible into four pieces that are all exactly the same shape and size as one another, i.e. four congruent pieces. Not all quadrilateral shapes can be divided into four congruent pieces. In fact, the only kinds of quadrilateral shapes that can be divided into four congruent pieces are the following:
So, in light of Isaiah 11:12, the two Job passages, and Revelation 7:1, the possible shapes of the Earth are limited to:
Narrowing down the possibilities even further
Finally, we can look to the mention of the four winds in Revelation 7:1 to give us the last clue. Everybody knows that "the four winds" are the North Wind, the South Wind, the East Wind, and the West Wind. Right? Well, Revelation 7:1 clearly shows four angels holding back these four winds. In order for each angel to "hold back" one of the Four Winds, he would have to be standing at the point on the Earth from whence the Wind originated. Thus, to hold back the North Wind, an angel would have to be standing at the northernmost point on the Earth. To hold back the South Wind, an angel would have to be standing at the southernmost point on the Earth. Et cetera. The four angels would have to have been standing at the northernmost, southernmost, easternmost, and westernmost points on the Earth - in other words, at the extreme ends of the four main compass points.
But we already know that they were also standing at the four corners of the Earth. This means that the four corners of the Earth are located at the compass points! A non-square rectangle, a non-rhombic parallelogram, or an isosceles trapezoid cannot be aligned in such a way that their corners are pointing directly at the compass points. Only a rhombic shape can be aligned in such a way. Therefore, when we have carefully examined all the clues in Revelation 7:1, combined with the two Job passages and Isaiah 11:12, the only two possible shapes for the Earth are:
... with its corners oriented to point directly north, south, east, and west.
Why the Earth must be square
We know that God is perfect. God would, therefore, have created the Earth in the most perfect shape possible. As I've already proven, we know from Rev 7:1, Isaiah 11:12, and Job that the Earth must be a rhombus of some sort. It makes good Biblical sense that God would have created Earth to be the most perfect kind of rhombus possible. The most perfect kind of rhombus is the square. Its rectilinear corners perfectly match the rectitude of God. Therefore, the Earth must be square.
And if that's not enough to convince you, consider this: Of all the nations on Earth today, God most loves the United States of America. (This is evident from songs like "God Bless America," and from the fact that Pat Robertson, God's chosen spokesman, lives in the U.S..) America's national pastime is the game of baseball. Baseball is played on a "diamond", which is perfectly square in shape - and which, I might add, has its corners oriented to point toward the four compass points. God would not have made baseball into the national pastime of His favorite nation if He didn't have a higher purpose in mind for it. Clearly, His higher purpose is to show us the True shape of the Earth. The Earth must be perfecly square, just like the diamond-shaped field in God's Chosen Sport is square.
(More evidence for the God/Baseball/Square-Earth connection can be found in the shape of the base bags, which are also perfectly square and oriented with their corners facing the same compass points that the diamond as a whole does. And lest you doubt that Baseball is a divinely inspired game, I remind you that Charley McDowell has noted that the 90-foot distance between home plate and first base, which is just the right distance to make the game exciting, "was a pick from heaven.")
The supporting pillars
Take a gander at this passage from First Samuel:
This clearly shows that the Earth rests on an unspecified number of pillars. (A couple of translations of the Old Testament floating around say "foundations" or "fixtures" in place of pillars, but the original Hebrew word that appears here is "Matsuwq", which literally means a cast metal support, a pillar, or a column.) What the pillars themselves are resting on is unknown. They might not be resting upon anything. Perhaps they are being held up by divine grace. Perhaps they are infinitely tall. All we know for sure is that a set of pillars beneath the Earth must exist.
This means that Hell, which is under the Earth, is interrupted by pillars in some places. This may explain how Satan is going to break out of Hell after the thousand years of peace in Revelation: perhaps he's going to climb up one of these pillars. This is a speculation for another webpage, however.
Frequently Asked Questions
1 Reader's help is needed on this one. All that THOCBDC knows is that Lotharingia was created by the Treaty of Verdun in 843. A further search uncovered three Lothairs (I, II and III). The first two (I and II) were Holy Roman Emperors; Lothair III was King of France from 954 to 986. None of these Lothairs died in 869 nor did any of them wear the Crown of Lotharingia. Can it be that the Lothair that NEWNES gives us is Lothair 0?
2 The "bath of pitch" has a long and varied history. As recently as the 20th century "tar and feathering" was a popular 'sport' in some parts of the American South. A more benign version of this medieval nuisance was once widely practiced during initiation ceremonies at fraternity houses at more that a few American land-grant universities. As late as 1956 "Greek" pledges were 'asked' to remove their clothes ... after being swabbed in honey and fluffed with the contents of disemboweled pillows they were then encouraged to run through the streets with long flaming wicks trailing from their anuses.
Today is the pre-start of the long Mother's Day weekend here in Thailand. Though Mother's Day1 is not until Monday, the 'tapering' began around lunchtime. Since mothers are usually held in much higher regard in Thailand than in Europe or America most Thai children make a genuine attempt to be with their mother on this day. If Mom lives upcountry kids will book their bus and train spots early.2
1 In Thailand Mother's Day is always on the Queen's birthday; likewise, Father's Day is on the King's birthday.
2 Thai girls prefer to marry men whose Mom and Dad are already dead. Such unencumbered men ... men with no parental luggage ... are easier to manage once free of lineal blood interference. Most Thai brides agree that meddling mother-in-laws are the worst.
Wescott shines today:
A Spaniard, Sixtus II's archdeacon, in charge of papal finances. Upon the pope's death, the Prefect of Rome intended to confiscate everything. The blessed treasurer asked for a delay of three days to draw up his accounts, and by giving everything to the poor prevented the seizure. Of course this pious embezzlement was a capital offence, and Laurence died on the gridiron with magnificent insolence, urging those in charge to turn his raw side to the flames and to eat the other.
When the remains of St. Stephen the Protomartyr were discovered and brought to Rome and put in St. Laurence's tomb, the younger corpse moved over and gave its hand to the elder; after which the Romans called St. Laurence 'the polite Spaniard.'
NEWNES (A strange day for French royalty):
It has been more that 13 months since I have been in the United States. The last time that I was there (pre-9/11) most of the airport security functions were being handled by 7/11 employees who were trying to pick up a little extra cash by working two jobs. Of course, they were in management and in other senior positions! The ones actually waving the wands over your crotch and making you turn on your computers were holding down only one job, as they were totally unemployable elsewhere.
Now that 'Airport 2001' has changed things for all of us, the CEOs at such places as JFK, SFO and MIA have replaced their 'front line troops' with people who are even able to detect the sound of a foreign language.1
This morning my letterbox had this warning in it from Swiss (formerly Swiss Air):
As you may know from your own experience as a frequent flyer, security measures at US airports have been tightened since September 11, 2001 in order to ensure the greatest possible airport security. This is certainly in the interest of all airlines and their passengers worldwide. The advice below is based on comments received from another member. We thought it was worth passing on.
Respect the security measures taken by the US authorities. Please bear the additional security checks without objecting even if you find them unnecessary. In order to avoid complications with security staff, do not engage in conversation in your mother tongue with your traveling companion during the security checks. Failure to do so could result in an arrest or a charge of "Disorderly Person," which could have serious legal consequences.
I wonder if the little sign on the wall is still there. Half a dozen years ago (when Laurie F. Jones was a Screwy Tusker)2 our little band of e-poloists chartered a helicopter and flew to a school that I funded in western Nepal ... NO WAIT ... I'm getting things all mixed up. What I am trying to lead up to involves another school: one that was built last year. And, I don't know if this later Diktel School even had a 'donated by ...' sign like the first one did.
"Alf ... can you speed things along a bit ... and what are you getting at?"
Yes ... well, the other day the International Herald Tribune reported that some Maoists had kidnapped an employee of the Gurka Welfare Scheme (a charity run by British army officers to help retired Nepalese Gurkas and their children). I quickly sent off a message to the former 'chair' at GWS and he confirmed the bad news:
Yes, I regret that Purna was one of those taken by the Maoists from the routine bus running from Libang to Butwal to Kathmandu, and HQ GWS together with BGN, the British Embassy and HMGN are actively pursuing the case. I do not think that the incident was related to the GWS, and Purna was 'unlucky' to have been on that particular bus, but I have every hope that he will be released in due course. However one cannot be sanguine about this sort of incident!
Gratuitously, he added:
On a separate note, I visited your school at Diktel which is running well. They too had some initial problems with the Maoists, but it is still open as a day school and continues to attract a good number of pupils from the area. It remains in excellent condition and hopes to expand in the near future."... initial problems with the Maoists ..." Hmmmmm ... what could that mean? Can it be that I am now an official "enemy of the people"? Should I return to Nepal would I have to undergo reeducation? Or, does this just mean that the little commemorative inscription that once (or, might have) hung over the door has been crushed underfoot?
Tomorrow Watcharee is going up to Atutthaya for Mother's Day. She won't come back until Monday. So, this will be my first night in our apartment by myself. I am not sure that I am up to any colorful reportable mischief. But, if some comes my way I'll journalize it.
1 "Bob ... those two ... they are talking in a strange mother tongue! Troublemakers! Let's book 'em for 'disorderly'."
2 After just two seasons with us (1996 and 1997) she defected to the 'enemy'. You can read about that betrayal elsewhere.
Watcharee is up at her mom's house for the Mother's Day weekend. Though I thought about calling an emergency meeting of the Patpong Corkscrew Club4 ... or maybe even popping into the Super Queen to see if my old friend Porn is still behind the bar ... I, instead, just went lame and settled for a massage at the RELAX BEAUTY AND HAIR SALON5 and a flic purchase at WORLD MOVIES.6
In this morning's Bangkok Post BIZARRO (in the op-ed part of the 'comics') made wonderfully funny swipes at both the 'burning bush' and the 'silly tablets'. Tuesday's letters to the editor will doubtlessly include one about "... no one has known the suffering that we have ..."
This arrow to the Shangri-La tells me when to turn right and go home.
1 Directly from NEWNES! Those unfamiliar with the NEWNESIAN format might be puzzled, so let me explain. NEWNES captions the start of each new day with the date, e.g. "11th August". If the day is an ordinary one ... well, that's all that's on the caption line. But, if it is a special day ... like say, this coming Thursday ... then the date will be followed by an epaulette on the right shoulder: in Thursday's case, "15th August - Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary". NEWNES obviously considered the opening of the grouse-shooting season to be as important as what Mary did on the 15th.
2 Reader help needed: do 'Native Americans' now have another name for him?
4 Aside from Ning and myself, only Gift, Amma and Ohmy are in town this week. Hey, do you want to see their pictures again? Paul, can you find a random link to one of the girls?
5 This is one of David's favorite hangouts when he comes to Bangkok.
6 The place obligingly stocks DVDs that operate on 'all zones'. Most first-run films cost about three US bucks. Oldies can be had for half a dollar ... but, in the VCD format.
I made a mess of things!
All that stuff about/for NEWNES that I wrote yesterday…well, it was supposed to be for today: from the Opening of Grouse Hunting right through Thomas Mann's death…yes, it all belonged to today, not yesterday.
August 11th wasn't all that exciting anyway: Prince Octavio Piccolomini, a military commander, died (1656); the first Ascot race was held (1711); the first wireless 'SOS" was used (1909) and the new Waterloo Bridge in London was opened (1943).
Today is Mother's Day in Thailand. It is also…not just coincidentally…the Queen's Birthday.1 Many businesses, in honor of the Queen, display large portraits of her for the entire week immediately preceding the holiday. My three great hotel neighbors (each of them five-star places) flaunted their own privately commissioned works:
Even Assumption College (another near neighbor) showed off its picture of the Queen.
Meanwhile, in another part of town, a bizarre suicide ended the life of a less fortunate mother:
Somjai Setbun, a 40 year old Surin native committed suicide by jumping into a pool of more than 100 crocodiles in front of a shocked crowd of tourists at a Sumut Prakan zoo. When the crocodile attacked and dragged her into the water, she wrapped her arms around it and did not resist. It is believed she took her life because her husband flirted with another woman.
1 In Thailand Mother's Day (as is Father's Day) is a movable holiday. It depends on the birthday of the Queen. Under the prior Queen it was on another day. Under the next Queen it will be on yet another day.
Next: More August