From Abracadabra to Zombies
is a commentary on
mass media treatment of issues concerning science, the
paranormal, and the supernatural.
Skeptimedia replaces Mass Media Funk and Mass Media Bunk. Those blogs are now archived.
"Numbers [especially 9] are the Universal language offered by the deity to humans as confirmation of the truth." --Augustine of Hippo
"[Nature] is written in mathematical language, and the letters are triangles, circles and other geometrical figures [like the figure 9], without which means it is humanly impossible to comprehend a single word." --Galileo Galilei
2009 promises to be a good year because it is a good number that contains another good number within its bowels. If you guessed that 9 is the good number, you guessed right. This is the year of the enneagram. Nothing expresses hope and balance like a good 9, which is a 6 turned right-side up. Think of all the things that involve 9. There are 9 ways to leave your lover, 9 blind mice, Nine Inch Nails, 99 bottles of beer on the wall, 9 players on a baseball team, 9 innings in a baseball game, and 9 divided by 3 bases on a baseball field. It takes 9 minutes for light from the sun to reach Earth. The sky is 9 miles high. 'Superstition' has 11 letters but only 9 are important. There are 9 books in the Bible, 9 deadly sins, 9 notes to the octave, and it took Odysseus 9 years to get back to Greece from Troy after traveling to the 9 corners of the earth.
There are 9 cardinal virtues. Nine times any number from 1 through 9 equals a number whose two digits always add up to 9. How weird is that? Are you dressed to the nines or on cloud 9? There are 9 months in a "normal" pregnancy. There are 9 circles in Dante's hell, 9 dances of the sacred veil, and 9 noble truths. There are Nine Commandments, 9 members of the Supremes, and 9 planets. Some people go the whole nine yards when giving 109%. Cats have 9 lives. Football games last 9 hours and golf is played on a front nine and a back nine. There are 9 days of Christmas and Hanukah. There are 9 letters in ninety-nine. 9 is 3 times 3 or 3 cubed and is clearly a sign of freemasonry, fez hats, and small motorized cars in parades. 9 is a festive number. Personal energy runs on a 9-year cycle. People used to have 9 fingers and toes before evolution happened. People still come home 9 sheets to the wind after partying too hard and drinking too many 9-packs.
There were 9 apostles at the Last Supper and it was determined that no more than 9 angels can dance on the head of a pin. The Templars took no new members for nine years after setting up shop. Sometimes help only arrives at the 9th hour. There are 9 gods in the Holy Trinity and 9 sacraments in the Holy Roman Catholic Church. Comet Hale-Bopp flew over the Superstition Mountains on 9/9/99. Many people witnessed the event after drinking Love Potion #9 and listening to John Lennon recite "number nine" in "Revolution 9." The "Ode to Joy" is sung in Beethoven's 9th and was the happy tune whistled by Snow White and the 9 dwarfs.
Finally, 9 is the largest and most virile of single digits, a fact that did not go unnoticed by the ancient Chinese.
p.s. It is not coincidence that 'selective' has nine letters and 'I' is the 9th letter of the alphabet.
p.p.s. Barack Obama was nine when he announced to his grandparents that he was going to grow up to be the first Hawaiian president. Here are 9 tips for President Obama to help him achieve his top 9 goals in his first 99 days in office:
1. Redefine torture so the history books can truthfully say that Americans don't do that kind of thing.
2. Don't invade any more countries or overthrow any more governments. A lot of bad stuff started in 1953 when the U.S. kept the Shah of Iran in power. Iran has never forgiven us. Then there was Chile, Nicaragua, Vietnam, and a few other places we tried to control, none of them with long-term benefits to our people or theirs.
3. Do something about the economy and the Middle East.
4. Nationalize our health service and provide free acupuncture for everybody. You'll have millions of satisfied customers and it will only cost you a few needles and a few bucks for a few hours of training for the acupuncturists, who won't even need to actually stick pins in anyone to get satisfactory results.
5. Listen to scientists when you need to know something about science. You're predecessor ignored scientists (maybe because his gut told him all he needed to know). You've made a good start by appointing John Holdren and Steven Chu.
6. Leave religion out of the equation whenever possible. This is probably impossible in America and your choice of two polar opposites [Rick Warren and Joseph Echols Lowery] to pray with you at your inauguration bodes well. Let's hope they cancel each other out.
7. Get rid of all the phony airport security. We know you're just trying to scare drug traffickers by making us take off our shoes and try to walk through the sensors without our canes. Do you really think we believe you're properly screening those guys and gals who are going through our personal belongings?
8. Forget climate change. None of the models scientists use can be relied on. Things are going to happen that can't be predicted and they are probably not going to be good. Things are going to be much worse than predicted so why give people hope by pretending we can avoid disaster by turning off our air conditioners and heaters, buying smaller TVs, driving hydrogen cars, or using corn for fuel?
9. Create a commission to investigate the so-called 9/11 Truthers and make them provide one piece of evidence that falsifies the claim that 9/11 was planned and executed by 19 al Qaeda Islamic soldiers at war with America and directed by Osama bin Laden, a man trained and supported by the U.S. in Afghanistan in its war with Russia.
This can all be accomplished by 9/9/09 or 9 isn't my lucky number.
* AmeriCares *