Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman's Good Omens is a book that I've revisited many times over the years. Each time that I do, it feels like I'm spending time with an old friend: nothing much has changed since the last time that we saw each other, but I enjoy the book's presence in my life, nonetheless.
The first trailer for Amazon's Good Omens doesn't give me those feels. That's not a bad thing. The mini-series, staring Michael Sheen and David Tennant as Aziraphale and Crowley, feels vital and expansive compared to the cozy confines of the novel I've enjoyed so often over the past few decades. I'm really looking forward to seeing how the production interprets the work.
And hey, if it sucks, I still have the wonderful written iteration to fall back on. Read the rest
After Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz (a movie that deserves a sequal more than any other film, ever) and The World's End, I'm willing to watch anything Nick Frost and Simon Pegg put in front of my eyeballs a go.
Slaughterhouse Rulez looks like more of the same sort of violent whimsy that I've come to expect from Frost and Pegg. That's just fine by me. Read the rest
According to the Vatican, demonic possessions are on the uptick. In order to meet the rising demand for assistance by those assailed by the demonic, the Vatican-backed International Association of Exorcists will be holding a training course for Priests interested in fighting the demonic. According to The Guardian, the course will held at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome between 16-21 April.
The announcement of the upcoming Vatican course comes at a time when concerns over whether the rite of exorcism could be seen as a form of spiritual and physical abuse are being raised.
From The Guardian:
Last year, the Christian thinktank Theos reported that exorcisms were a “booming industry” in the UK, particularly among Pentecostal churches.
But some warn that “deliverance ministry” can be a form of spiritual abuse. Critics also say LGBT people and those with mental health issues are targeted for deliverance in the belief that their sexuality or psychiatric problems are the result of demonic possession.
For their part, the Vatican, as well as the Anglican and Orthodox churches, acknowledge that medical care and psychological assessment of anyone asking for exorcism is a must--mistaking a medically treatable condition for spiritual affliction doesn't help anyone. Of equal importance is the fact that, as part of an exorcist's training, it's reinforced that unwanted touching or unrequested exorcisms should not take place.
No matter where your beliefs (or lack thereof) fall on the issue of exorcism, having more trained exorcists rolling around out there will likely be a good thing for those who feel that their only recourse from torment or spiritual danger is through a cleansing rite. Read the rest
Best orchid species ever: Telipogon diabolicus!
Discovered by Dr Marta Kolanowska and Prof Dariusz Szlachetko, both affiliated with University of Gdansk, Poland, together with Dr Ramiro Medina Trejo, Colombia, the new orchid grows a stem measuring between 5.5 - 9 cm in height.
With its only known habitat restricted to a single population spread across a dwarf montane forest at the border between departments Putumayo and Nariño, southern Colombia, the devilish orchid is assigned as a Critically Endangered species in the IUCN Red List.
[via] Read the rest
A most bizarre book from the late 18th century.
What in the unknown world is Jason Rohrer up to now?
Remember when UK Prime Minister David Cameron ordered government officials to go to the offices of the Guardian in London and demand the symbolic destruction of a laptop with the Edward Snowden leaks on it? It was a bizarre kind of high-tech exorcism, a bizarre ritual in which one of many, many copies of the Snowden documents were ritually destroyed, because, in the Prime Minister's words, "We've had enough debate about them."
The Guardian has posted a video of the exorcism, showing how the stern officials oversaw the piece-by-piece systematic destruction of the machine. It's not embeddable, but it's a remarkable piece of footage that you should really go and watch.
Revealed: the day Guardian destroyed Snowden hard drives under watchful eye of GCHQ – video
(via Techdirt) Read the rest
Jeremy Jarnell Anderson, 22, was taken to jail and charged with arson Thursday after "going ballistic" in his Oklahoma City apartment, reportedly kicking doors off hinges, pouring salt and soap over himself, and setting fire to it. Officers arrived to find him "screaming random things on the front porch," according to KFOR-TV: "Anderson told officers he met a “possessed homosexual demon” who wanted drugs from him and performed sexual acts on him." Read the rest