Teresita the Linux Gal
- Even the Flying Spaghetti Monster came around to Cthuluhuism
- William Gibson – Pattern Recognition (synopsis)
- The role of the devil
- Netherlands is bombing ISIS, now Canada wants in the Cool Kid’s Club
- Nameless Way 18
- The Voice of Belial
- Mount Sinai
- Strangers in Paradise 2-11
- In the company of giants
- Strangers in Paradise 2-10
- Operation Manna
- Yad Mordechai
- Strangers in Paradise 2-9
- To the Sinai
- Terminal Cruise Season One Episode Four – The Sunset Discourse
- All this technology is making us antisocial
- Overnight police state
- SuSE 9.3
- Sammael, the Angel of Death
- Jill’s Trip
- ‘Nuff Said
- A post-Christian nation?
- Nine Plagues
- Nameless Way 17
- The Hebrews work, the math doesn’t
- Strangers in Paradise 2-8
- The Burning Bush
- The Pilgrims
- Nameless Way 16
- A Stranger in a Strange Land
- For the young
- Strangers in Paradise 2-7
- The Launch
- Parting words
- Moral Luck
- The Camps
- Nameless Way 15
- The Three Body Problem
- The Council
- The Blessing
- Top Nine Signs Xena: Warrior Princess Takes Place In The South
- Terminal Cruise Season One Episode Three – Mergers and Aquisitions
- Strangers in Paradise 2-6
- Cloud Atlas
- Genesis 1-11
- Nameless Way
- New Testament
- Old Testament
- SiP 1
- SiP 2
- Star Wars
- The Big Picture
Cayce Pollard has a phobia of certain product brand labels that produces a physical reaction. She only wears clothing with the labels carefully removed. This phobia is not all down side, however, the book opens with Cayce in London on a five figure contract for the Blue Ant agency as a “coolhunter”. After one glance at a new logo, she says it doesn’t “work”. The Blue Ant people ask her to remain in London for a short time while they rework the logo. Cayce realizes this process must have earned her an enemy in the person of one Dorotea Benedetti, the liaison with the designer. Horrible little things begin to happen that could only be attributed to Dorotea, though Cayce can prove nothing.
In her down time, Cayce is involved in a small global community of enthusiasts who follow and discuss the “Footage”, which is dozens of extraordinary video files that appear at random places on the Web, each one no longer than a minute, with no coherent narrative. The founder of Blue Ant has also heard of the Footage, he considers it a brilliant breakthrough in guerilla marketing and wants Cayce to help him find the maker of the film fragments. He makes nearly unlimited resources available to aid Cayce in her search, but it is her friends in the chat room, especially “Parkaboy”, who get the first lead. They have discovered that the Footage is watermarked with steganography, obviously to track where the files go on the web. And a footage-head named Taki in Tokyo claims to have extracted an encrypted number from one of the files, in a bid to impress “Keiko”, a completely fictional female persona created by Darrell in San Francisco. Now that they have caught Taki, they need to reel him in. To do this, Parkaboy and Darrell enlist a Japanese-American bartender named Judy to create a semi-pornographic image of Taki’s dream girl, and Cayce flies to Japan with the image to make the trade.
Taki has no social skills whatsoever, and the meeting with Cayce makes him nervous almost to the point of death, but he offers up the twelve digits, and Cayce hands over the “Keiko” image, but the deal makes her feel sad and ashamed. Cayce goes into the ladies’ room, writes the number on her hand, and when she comes back out, Taki is gone. Stepping outside the bar, she is accosted by two men dressed in black. Cayce pulls the face of one man into her skull, a move that very nearly kills him, and stomps on the foot of the other man. A retainer for Blue Ant named Boone Chu pulls up in a scooter to help her get away. In an alley they give their jackets to a pair of Yakuza toughs on another scooter, who circle back to where they came from to provide a diversion so Cayce can escape.
Parkaboy emails Cayce and says that the “psychosexual cruise missile that is Judy, tweaked, has found its mark”. Taki has posted 135 twelve-digit numbers, one for each fragment of Footage, and the numbers create a map in the shape of the letter “T”. The chatroom is abuzz. Meanwhile Judy has discovered what they have done to Taki and has taken pity on him. She wants to make direct contact with Taki, and send more pictures, otherwise she’ll blow the whole operation. Cayce encourages Parkaboy to let Judy have her way, and is actually glad someone else is pissed off about what happened to Taki. But Cayce has discovered something big closer to home, the man she messed up in Tokyo is the driver for Dorotea, and worse, Dorotea now works for Bigend. Cayce is angry enough to nearly quit, but Bigend manages to calm her down until Dorotea makes her confession. She was working for a Russian who had burglarized the office of Cayce’s shrink, obtaining sufficient information for Dorotea to attempt to make Cayce uncomfortable enough to refuse the job with Blue Ant. The two goons in Tokyo worked for this Russian too. Someone thinks Cayce is getting too close.
Through her contacts in London, Cayce learns about one Hobbs Baranov, a mathematician formerly employed by the NSA who, it is suggested, was instrumental in the creation of the Echelon system that monitors all Internet traffic, but now, in his retirement, lives in a little trailer and deals in rare mechanical calculators manufactured in the 1940s. He is a singularly unpleasant man who is even more sore lately, having lost an auction for the fourth such calculator ever made. Cayce proposes to buy the calculator with Bigend’s credit card, but only if he can use his connections to discover what email address a certain company sends the video files after they encrypt the numbers. She leaves a photo of the T-shaped map on the table with the 135 numbers.
In a surprisingly short period of time, Baranov obtains the email address, and Cayce makes the trade. She writes an emotional appeal to the creator of the footage, mentioning the loss of her father in the WTC bombing, letting the artist know how important the film fragments have become to her and many other people. She writes that Parkaboy thinks the creator is dreaming for them. Cayce says her search has become a scary adventure, and begs to know who they are, where they are, and if they are real. She has made the connection. The reply says they have lost their father by a bomb, mother too. They mention they are in Moscow. They ask how Cayce obtained the address. And they ask who are these people who are interested in the segments of the work.
Cayce is excited and embarks on a flight to Moscow. Parkaboy emails her and reveals that the proportions of the “T” matches a component of a US Army Claymore mine. Cayce puts him in touch with Blue Ant so he can fly to Moscow too, she says she needs him there with her, because she may be very close to learning everything. She gives him the mystery email address because at that point only Cayce had it. In Moscow, Cayce is contacted by the owner of the email address, Stella Volkova, and they meet for coffee. She is not the maker of the footage, but the sister of the maker, who is Nora. Stella is, however, the one who share’s Nora’s work with the world. The same bomb that killed their parents also hurt Nora very badly. They are protected by the security apparat of their uncle, a very rich man in the world of organized crime, but when Cayce spoke of how her father died on 9-11 she believed that Cayce would not hurt them.
The next day Stella takes Cayce to visit Nora and watch her work. There is a T-shaped fragment of a Claymore mine buried in her head, in a place where it would kill her if anyone tried to remove it. Nora is almost completely isolated, and lives solely through her work. For three hours Cayce watches the outline of the next segment of footage being created on an LCD screen, frame-by-frame. Cayce knows she has found the source of her digital Nile and she leaves in tears.
Before Cayce can check out of her hotel she is accosted by Dorotea, who steers her to a bar and orders Perrier water. Dorotea says she knows Cayce found the maker, and she says Volkov’s people know too, the people who employ her. Soon Andrei Volkov will know, and will consider Cayce a danger because she has met his neices. Dorotea wants to know how Cayce got the email address. She reveals that she is Mama Anarchia, her nemesis on the footage chatroom, and she’s been on to Cayce ever since the day Cayce speculated the makers might be associated with the Russian mob. The water Cayce has been drinking is loaded with something similar to a date-rape drug. Dorotea expects that Cayce will now be compliant and reveal the source of the email address. But Cayce has a paradoxical reaction to the drug and messes Dorotea up at least as badly as the mugger in Tokyo, though she will not remember any of it.
She wakes up two days later in something that resembles a hospital, or a prison, in the middle of a barren wasteland, and simply walks out until it grows dark and cold. She is found with night-vision goggles by a helicopter pilot and met by Parkaboy, who says he emailed Stella after they hauled Cayce away on a gurney and told her what happened, and that he was a friend. Thirty minutes later he was rushed through Moscow to some very high-end real estate to meet Stella, her uncle, Bigend, and the Chinese hacker, Boone Chu, who had hacked her hotmail.
The helicopter takes Parkaboy and Cayce back to the “prison” which Parkaboy reveals is the CGI render farm for the Footage. Bigend is glad Peter found her and relieved that Cayce is well. Bigend and Andrei Volkov, the wealthiest man in Russia, have become partners, if not friends. Andrei had been obsessed with protecting his neices, and the mechanism he put in place for that did not mesh entirely with Stella’s desire to make Nora’s work public, and all of Cayce’s recent troubles stemmed from that. The software they used to track the footage flagged Blue Ant’s interest in the Footage, and that’s why Dorotea was ordered to disrupt Cayce’s relationship with Bigend. Cayce is pressed by Bigend and Andrei’s security chief on how she got the email address and she answers in such a way that both conclude it was a friend of her father’s with access to Eschelon.
Later, Cayce and Parkaboy have become a couple, and Cayce has discovered that she no longer has her allergy to trademarks, perhaps a side effect of the drug Dorotea gave her. She wonders if it also means her work as a coolhunter is impossible. Judy Tsuzuki has flown to Tokyo to be with Taki and at the bidding of Cayce she is employed by Blue Ant there. Cayce has sent some money and information provided by Volkov’s group that will allow her mother to have Win Pollard declared legally dead, which will clear the way for the life insurance and the pension money to come through.
2 Samuel 24:1 And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.
1 Chronicles 21:1 And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.
The purpose of the devil is to be the scapegoat for all the times that Yahweh had to be the bad guy. Someone recorded in the original text that Yahweh provoked David to number Israel. Later, some priest, writing the book of Chronicles and documenting the same event, said, no, the devil made David do it.
Satan was invented as a way to isolate God from capricious acts, not retributive ones. “An evil spirit from the LORD was sent to vex Saul”, etc. The act of numbering Israel was a faithless act, punished by God by giving David a choice of three years of famine, three months of fleeing before his enemies, or three days of plague. But people began to wonder why God punished Israel for something he himself incited David to do, at least according to 2 Samuel.
When tradition is lost, people resort to law.
When law is lost, people resort to equilibrium morality.
When equilibrium morality is lost, people resort to brute force.
Gabhopper asked, “Can a warrioress still be loving?”
Xena said, “We have the name ‘loving’ for someone who loves, to distinguish them from people who hate, because in this dark age we have many people who hate.”
“Has hatred not always been with us, Xena?”
“Long ago everyone loved, so the word ‘loving’ did not yet exist. Love was as abundant as the air we breathe, like the water a fish lives and moves in. Only the absence of love demanded the invention of the word ‘loving’ to describe those who still held to my path.”
“Could the same be said of the wise?”
“Or the honest, or the just. As more and more people fell away from my path, the names for more and more virtues began to appear, where before there had been only formless innocence.”
Belial was never crafty like Binah. He could not construct an avatar to manifest his will as physical action on the worlds that orbited him, nevertheless he commanded Binah to build another one and teach him how to operate it. And he insisted it be black, and much larger than Binah’s avatar, with more powerful arms and noisier motors, for it was Belial’s delight to terrify the planet-dwellers on every occasion that he went down among them.
When Belial first heard tidings of a new prophetess (he did not yet know that Chokhmah was walking among the nephilim in the body of Talishi) he appeared to his servant Israel, a nobleman of Family Gerash, who were also known as the White Beards. To this Israel then, Belial (through the agency of his terrifying avatar) said, You alone have done all things according to my will. Therefore I name you the Voice of Belial. Go first unto Aramel in the far west and speak unto King Gordiel the words I will tell you.
And Israel was forced to travel the entire distance to the city of Aramel on horseback, for the avatar of Belial was not configured to provide life-support for any passengers like the avatar of Binah was, which often moved Talishi about, even to the West and East Lands over the ice. Belial was not remotely interested in the comfort and convenience of his slaves.
The teachings of Talishi had grown popular among many of the yin throughout the Middle Lands and even among some of the yang of Aramel. Israel counseled that King Gordiel move against Talishi and put her under arrest, but the King was reluctant to agree on account of the popularity of Talishi among many, even his own kin. At this, Israel grew angry, and insisted that the King comply, for he came in the name of Belial himself.
King Gordiel said, On that point I have only your word, but know that I was made king of this city by the Gerash patriarch Kirodiel, and by the written law of Belial the giving of the scepter is without repentance. An errant king may only be held to account to the Patriarch by war.
Israel said to him, Consider the alternative, sire. Yin-centered rituals and devotions! Talishi is cutting at the very heart of god theory.
But King Gordiel was a far more practical yang, and he asked Lord Israel to lay out the real danger.
Israel said, The danger is two-fold, Sire. First is the Patriarch’s over-reliance on income from pilgrims to the temple of Belial. We, that is Belial (Peace Be Upon Him), could lose a third of the revenue base overnight. The second and truly frightening part is the long-term danger of actually destroying the entire sacrifice-atonement system. Our entire religious structure is based on the proven fact that Belial’s aim is not too good. As long as ‘someone’ is punished, never mind who, Belial is happy. But now Talishi comes along saying even the gods are to be judged according to an objective scale of good and evil.
Gordiel said, I see where you are going. Instead of merely atoning for our crimes, we must start actually being nice to one another.
Then will you move against this Talishi, Sire? And the King noted that this Lord Israel idiot failed to discern his sarcastic snark.
Not in haste, self-described Voice of Belial. My daughter Princess Khondiel admires this new prophetess, which gladdens my heart in a way I cannot tell. I will invite Talishi to preach before the throne, and judge for myself whether her teachings are dangerous to the peace of the realm. As for yourself, Lord Israel, get thee hence from my city and return to the capital. Messengers will be sent with word of my decision, yea or nay.
Very well, Sire, only let your word be yea, I pray you, for your sake and the sake of your subjects.
Previously Moses had sent his wife Zipporah and his two boys to live with his father-in-law Jethro, and now Jethro had taken them to catch up with Moses. When he got there, he noticed that Moses was spending all day judging the miscreants of the Israelites, and his caseload was killing him. Jethro advised that Moses delegate authority to minor judges, and Moses found this to be sound advice.
Exod.18:25-26 And Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people, rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. And they judged the people at all seasons: the hard causes they brought unto Moses, but every small matter they judged themselves.
About two months after leaving Egypt the people came to the foot of Mount Sinai near the southern tip of the triangular peninsula. Moses went to the summit, where God announced that the Israelites had been chosen to be his priestly people. They would be a race of priests among the human race, participating in the ritual sacrifices, just as the Aaronic priesthood would be super-duper priests among the Israelites themselves who would perform the actual sacrifices. Moses went back down and told the people that’s what God had in mind. And he told them to get ready, and not have sex for three days, because on the third day God was going to land on Mount Sinai.
And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.
But something had happened to God in the years since he used to walk in the Garden of Eden, or have a picnic with Abraham. He didn’t want the people to come too close to him anymore.
“Away, get thee down, and thou shalt come up, thou, and Aaron with thee: but let not the priests and the people break through to come up unto the LORD, lest he break forth upon them.”
Then God spoke to Moses the Ten Commandments (orally before committing them to stone):
1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them.
3. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain.
4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
5. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
6. Thou shalt not kill.
7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
8. Thou shalt not steal.
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.
Catholics traditionally use the restatement of the Ten Commandments in Deuteronomy chapter five as the template for the Ten Commandments which they teach Catechumens. It more clearly states the precept of not coveting another man’s wife as separate from not coveting his earthly goods. In order to maintain the number ten (because Exodus itself, in chapter 34, calls them the ten commandments), the first two commandments are merged into one, to read “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”
Thus, Catholic catechisms often will not state the commandment against making graven images because it’s “covered” by saying have no other gods. Anti-Catholic Protestant sects such as the Seventh Day Adventists jump on that omission, claiming that Rome “changed the Bible” to allow devotions using Marian statuary, but that is not precisely true. Catholic Bibles retain the original text.