Articles for February 2016

CoupSleeves

Card Sleeves for Coup (The Dystopian Universe) Cards

When I posted an image from game night of a session of Coup: The Dystopian Universe, I got a quick inquiry about what sleeves I was using on my Coup cards.

As it turns out, Coup has some rather large-sized cards; much larger than the regular CCG size that Magic: The Gathering made popular. I should know, none of my old Ultra Pros fit. So I had to buy a special large-sized Ultra Pro sleeve, as shown here:

CoupSleevesUltraPro

Coup is one of my favorite games. It’s fast, it’s furious, and you don’t feel so bad even if you get killed early on. But the secret is that you need to have the cards protected so that they don’t become marked; the game is all about bluffing what card you have and if the cards are marked, it becomes harder to play it correctly without any cheating as someone tries to figure out what card you have in your hand.

Some kind of card sleeve is necessary. I would have liked to use a Top Loader for the best protection, but I can’t find any Top Loader that is big enough. Regular sleeves though were availabe. Ultra Pro recognized the growing market for board games, and created a special 65x100mm size of card sleeve just for board gamers.

As you can see, the Coup cards are 10cm long, too large for an 89mm Top Loader.
As you can see, the Coup cards are 10cm long, too large for an 89mm Top Loader.

That’s what you want — there are several other brands that offer 65x100mm sleeves, but Ultra Pro is one of the more recognizable and well-stocked brands. So get this size of sleeve if you want to protect your Coup cards.

If you can’t find it in stock at your local hobby store, consider ordering from my affiliate link to help support this site. Thanks!

Amazon Ultra Pro Board Game Sleeves Affiliate Link

Amazon Mayday Board Game Sleeve Affiliate Link   (this is an alternative brand I found on Amazon. I have not tested this but specs say it’s same size so should be ok)

And hey if you need the Coup game itself or want to gift to a friend…

Coup

Coup: Reformation

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Asus Zen Pad 8 and Nexus Covers

I love 8-inch tablets. The Asus Zen Pad 8 is an 8-inch tablet, just the right size.

This cover on the other hand will go great with my Nexus 7.

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Asus Zen Pad 8 Link

Nexus 7 Cover link

Invicta 18421 link

Invicta 18413 link

Swiss Legend Men’s link

Xperia Z Case Link

Moko Slim Case Link

TooGoo LEDs Link

Swiss Legend 30465

Ingersoll Women’s

 

Summer Catalog July 2016

 

Bloodbound

Blood Bound — a Social Boardgame with Hidden Identities

Blood Bound is one of the better social-type boardgames. It has a very interesting hidden identity system similar to the Resistance and Avalon series of boardgames, where a hidden identity card determines your allegiance.  Unlike Resistance, you don’t get to to know who your teammates are at all after you start, you can only see a quick look at your seatmate’s alleged allegiance at the start (though this isn’t always true — it may look like he’s part of that team but this isn’t always the case).

The result is everyone stabbing each other from the start of the match as people are trying to figure out who’s who and who’s the leader of each team. Only once the leader has been captured and revealed does the game end.

Very very nice mechanics. It’s available on Amazon here:

Blood Bound Link

director herzog and Robert Pattinson in QUEEN OF THE DESERT

Robert Pattinson Returns to the Big Screen in “Queen of the Desert” at Ayala Malls Cinemas

 

Robert Pattinson, best known for his role in the highly-successful young adult blockbuster “Twilight” films essays a more mature role starring with Nicole Kidman and James Franco in the true-to-life story of trailblazing woman  in “Queen of the Desert” directed by award-winning Werner Herzog.

Nicole Kidman plays Gertrude Bell aptly referenced as the “Queen of the Desert,”  bring to the big screen the true-life story of Bell, who was a British political officer and archaeologist but ultimately a trailblazer on her terms. The story details the extraordinary adventures of Bell wrestling with the conflicts of love and tragedy, enemy and friend, and foreign and familiar as she sought to understand and unify people from different cultures.

Gertrude Bell, a real-life British woman who was alternately a traveler, writer, archaeologist, explorer, cartographer, and political attaché for the British Empire at the dawn of the twentieth century. While only a commoner herself, Bell was nonetheless a kingmaker, helping found the modern states of Iraq and Jordan and installing their first rulers, King Abdullah and King Faisal.

nicole kidman and robert pattinson in QUEEN OF THE DESERT

Another legendary character that appears in this film is T.E. Lawrence, also known as Lawrence of Arabia, played by Robert Pattinson.  His role as T.E. Lawrence is a British Army officer whose writing earned him international fame as Lawrence of Arabia, on whom David Lean’s 1962 classic blockbuster movie epic is based. Lawrence was a good friend to Bell over the years, as the duo helped establish the Hashemite dynasties in Jordan and Iraq. “I needed an Englishman, who still has the air of a schoolboy, but who is very intelligent. He plays Lawrence of Arabia, but at age 22, on an archaeological site. Pattinson is very good in this role. He is an intelligent man and the choice was quite natural”, says Herzog of casting Pattinson.

Pattinson says landing the role was “just crazy”.  “I’ve been a fan of Herzog since I was 16. I met him for that job three years ago; I thought it was never going to happen and when it finally did, it was amazing. Riding around Morocco on a camel, it was pretty great,” says Pattinson in his previous interviews.

Of working with the director, Pattinson says, “It’s insane because he wrote the script as well and it’s one of the most difficult scripts I’ve ever read. Werner’s great. He’s exactly what you’d expect. He’s got so many amazing stories. He’s got insane confidence as well. I think that’s where all his creativity comes from. He’s got 100% belief in himself.”

From Axinite Digicinema, “Queen of the Desert” opens March 2 exclusive at Ayala Malls Cinemas.

 

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Heightened Pulse-Pounding Escape and Survival in “The Divergent Series: Allegiant”

Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Zoë Kravitz, Miles Teller, Maggie Q and Ansel Elgort return in the most awaited book-to-film franchise in “Allegiant” where  Chicago is on the verge of an all-out civil war. The young warriors and heroes with Tris (Woodley) leading the troop -Four (James), Christina (Kravitz), Peter (Teller), Tori (Q) and Caleb (Elgort) sees them on a harrowing escape from the walled city, chased by armed guards loyal to self-appointed leader Evelyn (Naomi Watts).

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Outside Chicago for the first time in their lives, the five find themselves being pursued by Edgar (Jonny Weston) through a toxic wasteland known as the Fringe before being rescued and escorted to the ultra-high-tech compound of the Bureau of Genetic Welfare.   Once there, Bureau mastermind David (Jeff Daniels) singles out Tris for being genetically “pure” and enlists her to champion his mysterious cause. While Tris receives special treatment, including access to “memory tabs” that enable her to relive her own family history, Four joins Bureau soldiers on a supposedly humanitarian mission to remove children from a ragtag Fringe encampment.

Discovering that David plans to use the Bureau’s astonishing technologies for inhumane ends, Tris hijacks his private aircraft and returns with her team to Chicago. Faced with a shocking betrayal, they must try to stop Evelyn before she unleashes a memory-erasing gas on the city’s entire population, including the Allegiant rebel force led by Johanna (Octavia Spencer).

The Divergent Series: Allegiant” is directed by Robert Schwentke (“The Divergent Series: Insurgent,” “The Time Traveler’s Wife”) and based on the bestselling young adult novel “Allegiant” by Veronica Roth.

The filmmakers set out to bring Victoria Roth’s original vision to life once again even as they add fresh surprises to her dystopian saga. Brimming with new characters, landscapes and mysteries, “Allegiant” extends a Divergent universe that has already captivated millions of moviegoers. “One reason these stories resonate for young people particularly is that they wonder what their futures hold for them,” James muses. “Whether it’s conscious or not, young people think about, ‘What kind of world will I live in?’ I think that’s why so many people gravitate toward the Divergent stories.”

Although Allegiant remains consistent to the core values of the Divergent series, its heroes encounter new worlds and shocking revelations and the film raises the level of excitement to new heights. “Allegiant gives you a scale and a scope that you don’t get in previous films,” says producer Lucy Fisher. “There are so many things about this movie that excite us, including the action and the visuals. But my favorite part about this entire series is the characters and their relationship to each other. With Allegiant, I love that you’re on the edge of your seat, because there’s something going on every second.”

“Allegiant” opens March 9 in theatres nationwide from Pioneer Films.

 

KUNG FU PANDA 3

Returning and New Cast in Dreamwork’s Action-Packed Animation “Kung Fu Panda 3”

 

One of the most successful animated franchises in the world returns with its biggest comedy adventure yet, “Kung Fu Panda 3” that will open March 9 nationwide (2D, 3D and IMAX 3D screens).  The film marks the return of the plump black-and-white bear who has only one aspiration – to become an expert in a martial art that requires agility, mental prowess and lightning-fast reflexes.  It was a formidable, if not impossible quest.  But then Po doesn’t know the word “impossible.”  He’s always striving to be the best he can be…to be his own hero.

As Po attempts to instruct his idols – Tigress, Monkey, Viper, Crane and Mantis – in the finer points of kung fu, chaos reigns in the Training Hall, a place of discipline, honor and sacred practice. Po’s cluelessness as a teacher reminds us of the character we met and fell and love with in KUNG FU PANDA.

Before heading on to watch the most anticipated family outing of the year, let’s review and meet returning and new characters and cast in “Kung Fu Panda 3.”

KUNG FU PANDA 3

PO (Jack Black)

Plucked from his duties as the apprentice noodle maker at his dad’s shop, Po is now the legendary Dragon Warrior, and he’s already saved the world a few times. But despite all the adulation, Po is the same humble panda.

SHIFU (Dustin Hoffman)

Kung Fu master Shifu is very good at his job as trainer to the “best of the best” Kung Fu warriors in all of China. He’s a strict, difficult to please teacher who pushes his students ever harder to achieve the achievement of unachievable perfection.

OOGWAY (Randall Duk Kim)

This warrior and spiritual leader of the Valley of Peace dedicated his life to protecting the small and vulnerable. Though he has moved on from our realm, he has left his Kung Fu legacy in the trusted hands of Shifu, Po and The Five.

TIGRESS  (Angelina Jolie Pitt)

Master Tigress is the strongest and boldest of the Furious Five.  But underneath her stoic, iron-jawed (and iron-hand, and iron-feet, pretty much iron-everything) exterior is a warm compassion that others seldom see.

VIPER (Lucy Liu)

Master Viper is the “mother hen” of the group.  But don’t let her gentle nature fool you.  Viper is a lightning fast warrior capable of taking down the most intimidating foe.

MONKEY (Jackie Chan)

Mischievous, playful and enthusiastic, Master Monkey likes a good joke, but his easy-going attitude masks cunning martial arts ability. Monkey is an unpredictable prankster who is as fierce as he is clever and funny.

CRANE (David Cross)

Master Crane is the pragmatist of the group.  He’ll try to avoid a fight if at all possible, but if he can’t avoid it, Crane will do everything he can to win it.

MANTIS (Seth Rogen)

Master Mantis may be the smallest of the Five, but he’d never admit it. The little guy has a textbook Napoleon complex: strong, fast and tiny, he possesses a mean temper and is ready to “throw down” at the slightest insult.

PING (James Hong)

Mr. Ping may have lost his best, and only, employee to kung fu greatness, but he couldn’t be more proud of his panda son, Po. Like any parent left at home, Mr. Ping worries about being forgotten.

LI (Bryan Cranston)

Think about who Po would be if the discipline of Kung Fu had never entered his life – and that’s Li.  Po’s old man is a loud exuberant party loving panda always out for a good time, whether that’s eating and napping or napping and eating.

MEI MEI (Kate Hudson)

In a village of easy going pandas who would literally rather roll than walk, Mei Mei stands out as a rare, results-oriented panda.  Once she sets her mind on something, she’ll get it no matter what.

KAI (J.K. Simmons)

Long ago, the fearsome and power-hungry warrior Kai found a way to take chi from others, until he was banished to the Spirit Realm for all eternity.  Now, Kai has returned to earth, where his appetite for power and revenge leads to an incredible showdown and battle with Po.

 

 

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When Sunday is not the Sabbath – What You Don’t Know will Surprise You

Growing up as a Catholic, I was always told that the Sabbath was on Sunday. And, as far as I can tell, this is what most people in the Philippines think (and possibly most Christians for that matter).

This thinking is wrong.

So Wrong.

I often wondered why Sabbath sounds like Sabado, which is Saturday in Tagalog. This word, of course was a borrowed word from Spanish when the Spaniards colonized the Philippines. So I researched into it, and it turns out that the Sabado really is derived from Sabbath.

 

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Let’s look at the etymology of days.

The naming for the days of the week were originally derived from the Babylonian practice of naming the days from the Sun and the Moon, and five planets that they could see in the sky – Mercury,Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. This practice was later adopted by the Greeks, which in turn perpetuates it to the Romans.

The Greeks were the ones who assigned the names based on their gods. Hellenistic culture being the root of Western culture, was the most advanced and widespread culture of the era, and this had a huge impact on the Roman Empire, then the greatest civilization at the time. Now, Rome had a peculiar religious habit — any time they would conquer a people or annex them to the empire, they would worship the same Gods that their conquered people did. They would then syncretize these traditions, and viola! Zeus is Jupter, Aphrodite is Venus, Cronus is Saturn.

Later on, as Rome started to encompass Germanic tribes, these men with Nordic traditions would bring their Gods into the equation. The result is the gradual transformation of the Hellenistic day names to modern English day names. The Germanic peoples then localized Tuesday until Friday with their local equivalent Gods, but kept the Sun and Moon days as is, and also the Saturn. There’s just one God that is a bit puzzling — Odin is the one replacing Mercurius, but Odin is the All-Father, not the God of Speed. I wrote a lengthy piece to explain that one here.

DaysTable

On the other hand, romance languages like Spanish were derived directly from Latin, so they kept the Latin names instead of going Norse (English is a Germanic language). That’s why Luna, the Moon Goddess in Latin, became Lunes in Spanish. Domingo is Spanish for “The Lord’s Day” which was the other name for Sunday (more on that later). And most tellingly, the Latin name for Saturday is Sabbatum, which was derived directly from the Hebrew Sabat, which means “to rest.”

So now that we’ve established that the Sabbath really is Saturday, the next question on your mind should be:

 

Why do we go to Church on Sundays, and not Saturdays?

This one is a little tougher, and much longer, and there’s a lot of missing information I couldn’t find.  But here’s what I did find out.

In the Old Testament, book of Exodus we have the Ten Commandments. The 4th Commandment tells us to worship on the Sabbath.

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy” – Exodus 20:8

This has its roots in Genesis, the Creation Myth, where God created the world in six days, and on the seventh day, he rested.
“And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.” – Genesis 2:2-3

The Sabbath day is the 7th day, the day of rest and holiness.

The Jewish calendar originally did not have days named in the Hellenestic progression I detailed above, but they did number the days – the 1st day, 2nd, day, and so on until the 7th day. The 7th day is clearly the Sabbath day, or Saturday.

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Now, keeping the Sabbath is a distinctly Jewish tradition. But when Christianity was born around 00 AD, they branched off from the Jewish tradition and became their own religion. The key of Christian faith is the resurrection of Jesus Christ — this occurred on Sunday, the 8th day, or the 1st day of the new week. Easter occurs on a Sunday, right? That is why Sunday came to be known as The Lord’s Day.

In addition, the Church fathers then decided to celebrate worship on The Lord’s Day, the joyous day of celebration when Jesus came back from the dead. It is said that the early Church fathers Ignatius, Barnabas and Justin Martyr where the ones who moved the celebration date. Whether this is true or not is unclear, but what is clear are the writings they left behind which specify this change in the date of worship.

Ignatius in 110 AD wrote in his epistle to the Magnesians Chapter 9 Verse 1:

“If then those who had walked in ancient practices attained unto newness of hope, no longer observing sabbaths but fashioning their lives after the Lord’s day, on which our life also arose through Him and through His death which some men deny.”  Source

Justin Martyr on the other hand wrote in 140 AD in Chapter 67 of his First Apology:

“But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day rose from the dead. For He was crucified on the day before that of Saturn (Saturday); and on the day after that of Saturn, which is the day of the Sun, having appeared to His apostles and disciples.” Source

As you can see, the they specifically mention not to observe the old Sabbath, and instead have their assemblies on the day of the Sun, the Lord’s Day, Sunday.

The Sabbath Day is actually still Saturday, always has, always will be. Christians however decided to change it to Sunday, since this was the day when Jesus came back from the dead, and it also coincides with the 1st day when God created the world in Genesis.

Sundays

However, this poses some problems. The first one is that early Christianity was mostly Jews. They were people who were used to worshiping on the Sabbath. They had a Commandment from YHWH back in the days of Moses to keep the Sabbath. Would it be so easy for them to change days just like that?

So we look for another piece of the puzzle. At the time of the early Catholic Church around 00AD-400AD, the most popular religion of the time was the Cult of Mithraism. Mithraism is a pagan mystery religion from Persia which venerates Mythras, the Sun God. In Rome, he was equated to Sol Invictus, the Sun God, and his day of worship was on Sunday.

The funny thing about Mithras is that he shares many, many similarities with Jesus, including the virgin birth, his birthday on December 25, and his dying on a cross to save mankind, and his triumphant resurrection.  Does that sound crazy? Don’t take my word for it. The theory goes that Mithras is just one of many pagan gods who share similar traits to a whole pantheon of God Men collectively, they are referred to by writers Timoty Freke and Peter Gandy as Osiris-Dionysus. There are various sources you can read further like this and this, so you can do your own reading. Freke and Gandy wrote this in their book “The Jesus Mysteries.”

There were so many similarities that the early Church fathers came up with the explanation that the Devil (Mithras or whoever) time-travelled to the future and back to plagiarize Christianity and pre-empt Jesus. It was called Diabolic Mimicry. Justin Martyr for instances illustrates this diabolical mimicry response to explain away the pre-emptive God Men (Sons of Jupiter) in Chapter 54 of his First Apology (source)

“But those who hand down the myths which the poets have made, adduce no proof to the youths who learn them; and we proceed to demonstrate that they have been uttered by the influence of the wicked demons, to deceive and lead astray the human race. For having heard it proclaimed through the prophets that the Christ was to come, and that the ungodly among men were to be punished by fire, they put forward many to be called sons of Jupiter, under the impression that they would be able to produce in men the idea that the things which were said with regard to Christ were mere marvellous tales, like the things which were said by the poets.” – Justin Martyr

So Diabolic!
So Diabolic!

Anyhow, to bolster the ranks of Christianity, the early Church fathers in Rome would have had to convert people from the dominant Pagan religion — Mithraism or any of the various pagan mystery cults around at the time, to Christianity. This wasn’t that hard — Mithraism as with most mystery religions was a bit of a secretive religion, and a hard one, with only men allowed, and years of study required in order to be ordained into the deeper mysteries. This form of Gnosticism was popular at the time, but it’s popularity waned in comparison to Christians, who were eagerly trying to get new recruits as their tenet was to “Spread the Good Word” and “Go Forth and Multiply.”

Surely the people were hurrying to flock to a much more friendly religion offering salvation! But why not sweeten the deal? Yes, let’s make the our traditions just like those of the Pagan cults! Let’s make Jesus’ birthday on December 25, just like Mithras. Let’s make him born of a virgin, just like Mithras. Let’s make him die on a cross, and resurrect. And what day was Mithraism’s holy day? Why the day of the Sun God of course, Sunday!

There are stories that say that it was Constantine, the first Christian Emperor of the Roman Empire, who changed the date of worship. This would be fine and dandy, but Constatine only became emperor in 306AD. We already have documents from St. Ignatius and company predating this by 200 years, stating that they had already made the change.

While it is more than likely true that it was Constantine and his declaration of making Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire was the reason Christianity became the most dominant religion in the world today, prior to that changes had already taken place. Freke and Gandy had outlined this version of events in their book, where the pagan mysteries already had traditions and teachings that were adapted to Christianity in order to make it easier for the numerous Pagan Romans in the empire to relate to the new religion.

So the early Christians who were converted Jews had their ranks bolstered by pagan Romans who also converted to the faith. Once again, we see the hand of syncretism, just as the names of the days had been absorbed into the culture, so were the names of the gods and even the details of the story.

Whew

If this is all a little much to take in, I don’t recommend taking my word for it. A lot of this I just researched myself. If you are skeptical, but want to get closer to the truth (whether your own personal truth or mine), I suggest doing the research as well. The book that started me on this was The Jesus Mysteries by Freke and Gandy. It is available on Amazon, along with its two other volumes here and here. They are very interesting books, and whether you agree or disagree in the end, they are fascinating reads.

If you enjoyed what you have read or found it at all informative, I would like to ask you to support the site by using the affiliate links to buy the books. It would really help me a lot. It will go to paying for the upkeep of this website. Thanks

Affiliate Links:

The Jesus Mysteries

Jesus and the Lost Goddess

The Laughing Jesus

 

Odin

How did Mercury become Odin?

We all know who Mercury — the fast, sneaky and cunning God of Speed in Roman mythology for whom the planet Mercury was named. He is depicted wearing a winged helmet, wings on his ankles and carrying a caduceus. Mercury, however, is low on the god tier, he’s certainly no boss god like Jupiter, god of the sky and king of the gods. Indeed, Mercury is often seen as the errand boy, sent off on a menial task by his boss Jupiter.

Mercury as depicted in classical Roman art.
Mercury as depicted in classical Roman art.

We also know Odin — the king of the Aesir, father of Thor and Loki, the All-Father and the biggest boss in the Norse pantheon. He is so awesome that a whole bucketload of things were attributed to him: healing, death, royalty, knowledge, war, magic, poetry, runes, and even death itself.

Odin, the All Father
Odin, the All Father

So we’ve seen how far Odin, the All Father and the Big Boss, is different from Mercury, the errand boy of the gods. But somehow, somewhere, Odin became associated with Mercury to the point that the two were interchangeable! What sorcery is this? It is true, however. Wednesday, as in the day Wednesday, is named after Odin (or Woden in ancient English), but Wednesday during the days of the Roman Empire was named after Mercury (Dies Mercurii).

The thing is, the Roman Empire has this bad habit of interpreting every other culture they came in contact with using their own cultural understanding. This process is known as interpretatio romana. It’s the reason Greek mythology was incorporated into Roman mythology, but with the names of Roman gods. We all know how Jupiter is actually Zeus, and Mars is actually Ares, but I only learned today that Mercury is actually Odin!

We’ll even see that Roman historian Tacitus referred to Odin as Mercury. In his 1st Century work Germania, Tactitus writes about the religion of the Suebi, a tribe of Germanic people who follow the Norse pantheon. Here, he writes:

“Among the gods Mercury is the one they principally worship. They regard it as a religious duty to offer to him, on fixed days, human as well as other sacrificial victims. Hercules and Mars they appease by animal offerings of the permitted kind.” 

Here of course, Tacitus is using the Roman pantheon names in his text, but he clearly identifies Odin with Mercury, for Odin was the chief god that was primarily worshipped by the Germanic people. It’s unusual that Odin was not identified with Jupiter/Zeus, who is the equivalent supreme God in Roman mythology.

There are three possible reasons why Odin was associated with Mercury. From the research I’ve done, this is my best guess as to why Odin is the most associated with Mercury:

They were both Psychocomps – Psycho-what you say? Pyschocomp comes from the Greek word “Psuchopompos” which means “Guide of Souls.” A Psychopomp is a being that guides souls from the lands of life to the land of the dead. Examples of psychocomps are Charon of boatman fame, valkyries, the Grim Reaper, and various shinigami as you see in Japanese anime.  Shinigami, or Gods of Death, in other words, are very popular psychocomps.

Of all the psychocomps in the world, I had to choose the really ugly one.

Wait, did you say God of Death? Didn’t we say earlier that Odin was the God of Death? That’s right. Odin was a psychocomp. Half of all those who die gloriously in battle end up at Odin’s table in Valhalla where they become Einherjar and drink fine mead for all eternity until Ragnarok. Odin was also a potent necromancer, and and his ravens are traditionally seen as the birds of the dead.

Mercury as well was a psycocomp. He is the God of Boundaries, and led newly-deceased souls to the afterlife. When Pluto, god of the underworld took Proserpina, Jupiter and Ceres’ daughter, as his bride, Ceres the goddess of the harvest became so distraught that all the crops in the world began to wither. Jupiter, dismayed that humanity would starve to death, ordered Mercury to fetch Proserpina back from the underworld so that Ceres could concentrate on making farms work again. So Mercury did, being the awesome psychocomp that he is, and saved humankind from starvation.

They were both Tricksters – Mercury, the trickster God, has a well-known reputation for being sneaky and cunning. With his speed and devious intelligence, he runs circles around people with deception, stealthy fingers pilfering things and left and right, and gets the job done without nary any violence. But Odin is the Supreme God, why does he need to resort to trickery? And isn’t Loki, his son, the Trickster God?

While we may commonly give this role to Loki, as we’ve mentioned before Odin is so bad-ass that he does everything. That includes being tricky. Odin was a master of disguises, a shapeshifter, and aside from being the All-Father he was also known as the Changing One, the Two-Fold One and the Hidden One. Odin was said to often don disguises and lurk among mortals

They were both the most Popular Gods – as we’ve established, Odin was the most popular god in the Norse pantheon, worshipped above all others. What may come as a surprise is that Mercury apparently was also the most popular of Roman Gods, and not Jupiter. Archeological evidence in Pompeii suggests that Mercury was the most-worshipped god among the Roman pantheon, with Mercury appearing most often in household shrines. Mary Beard, in her book “Pompeii: The Life of a Roman Town” details in her book: “Mercury is the most popular divine subject, closely followed by Egyptian Gods, with Venus, Minerva, Jupiter and Hercules, in that order.”

Here is the remnant of a house shrine from Pompeii with Mercury smack dab in the middle.
Here is the remnant of a house shrine from Pompeii with two images of Mercury and Bacchus on the right. In the middle is the Lares, or the hosuehold deity of the house.

While we can only attempt fathom why Mercury was the most popular, I get the feeling it has something to do with him being the God of Money.Yes, apparently back in the day, Romans were as materialistic as we are today.

 

So there you have it. While I still have trouble equating Mercury with Odin, there is no doubt that the early Romans associated Odin as Mercury in the same way that they made the association of Mercury with Hermes from the Olympian pantheon.

 

 

MannytheAdulterer

Manny Pacquiao — Gays are Lower than Animals

Many of you probably know by now that Manny Pacquiao, the Philippines’ most famous boxer, has apparently gone on the warpath stating that gay people are worse than animals.

“Common sense lang. Makakakita ka ba ng any animals na lalaki sa lalaki, babae sa babae? Mas mabuti pa yung hayop. Marunong kumilala kung lalaki, lalaki, o babae, babae,” Pacquiao said.

Naturally, this move would draw a large amount of anger from the GLBTA community.  With news of Manny’s anti-gay stance coming out, famous names in the outspoken GLBTA community have decried Manny, imploring us not to vote for him.

Manny

Aiza Seguerra, the famous child star who has made a name for herself as she has grown up and who is openly lesbian, has condemned him on Instagram:

“I am so fuckin’ mad I don’t know what to say. You might’ve done our country proud but with your statement, you just showed the whole country why we shouldn’t vote for you. And yes, I think you are an ignorant, bigoted hypocrite. You made me lose all respect that I had for you, Mr Pacquiao. Ang kailangan ng bansang ito ay mga taong nag-iisip. Utang ng loob, kilalanin ninyo ang iboboto ninyo.”

John Lapus, FIlipino comedian and actor, also had some choice words to say.

“I beg you my dear fellow filipinos and ofcourse fellow LGBT family. Pls dont vote Manny Pacquiao. Hayop ang tingin nya sa atin. Ty.” (sic)   

 

What I find hilarious, and yet at the same time, utterly disturbing with this sentiment is that these GLBTA people are only up in arms over Pacquiao over this last statement.  And they are urging us to change our political views, based on this statement alone.

Never mind that Manny pretty much said the same thing four years ago opposing US President Barack Obama’s stance on same-sex marriage. Such short memories you people have.  Back in 2012, Manny drew huge controversy in responding to Barack Obama’s support of gay marriage. Here, Manny said of marriage: “It should not be of the same sex so as to adulterate the altar of matrimony, like in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah of Old.”   

The bigger issue is that the man is a gambler, a womanizer and an adulterer, cheated his way to a college diploma and a doctorate, and likely doesn’t know the first thing about political science, economics or sociology, and I’m sure he knows little of the law considering he just muscled the CHED to get his doctorate in Humanities. He doesn’t even really go to Congress, having the highest absentee rate among all Congressmenonly having attended Congress for four days in all of 2014.  And in the few times he actually was in Congress, he fights against important measures such as the right to use contraceptives and artificial family planning.

I’ll give Manny credit that at least he knows more about the RH Bill than Alma Moreno.

But the real question is, do we really want someone like Manny, who has no expertise or achievements in economics, sociology, politics or human welfare, who has a proven track record of not doing his job as a lawmaker, and in addition exhibits a lot of character traits that you might think twice about to have in an office that represents you and your country, to become a senator?  These issues are far bigger and far more pressing than his bigotry over the gay community.

Then again, considering that our country will happily elect someone like Joseph Estrada to the presidency, and despite him being a convicted criminal, still would have voted him into office a second time, I can’t say I’m surprised.

When will Filipinos learn to separate politics from everything else? Manny is a boxer. He’s an outstanding boxer. One of the best the world has ever seen. But he’s not a politician, and he shouldn’t be one just because of his illustrious career as a boxer.

 

Really, GLBTA Community?

But seriously? The GLBTA community is up in arms over this — and perhaps rightfully so. Manny Pacquiao, in his statement, effectively denied them of their way of life, of their very existence altogether.  And that is a very touchy subject for anybody.

And yet, all that this uproar over the Pac Man’s words shows is how little thought we put into our lives and into the business of running our country.

With the glaring oversights of all the issues I alluded to above, I wouldn’t be surprised if not more of the people in this country are like Alma Moreno, blissfully ignorant of everything and just sitting pretty with her make up on a chair, smiling at the world and hoping it smiles back.

Perhaps it’s good that we have a figure like Manny Pacquiao who can launch us into action, because it’s becoming quite obvious that what matters isn’t how we can move forward as a country, but rather that we’re so concerned about nothing else other than the preservation of our personal way of life that nothing else grabs our attention.

Apparently, none of these other issues matter to us, to the point that we were perfectly fine with electing a man such as this to the Senate up until he exposed a character flaw that affected us personally. That is so typically Filipino, and so typically sad. That’s what people should be thinking about when they see this headline.

When elections come up, perhaps we will be seeing a lot less votes for the Pac Man as a result of this. But it is my fervent hope that we learn to reject him for the right reasons, and not just the personal ones.

 

Ryan Reynolds in DEADPOOL

Ryan Reynolds is Born for “Deadpool”

Based upon Marvel Comics’ most unconventional anti-hero, “Deadpool” tells the origin story of former Special Forces operative turned mercenary Wade Wilson, who after being subjected to a rogue experiment leaves him with accelerated healing powers and adopts the alter ego Deadpool. Armed with his new abilities and a dark, twisted sense of humor, Deadpool hunts down the man who nearly destroyed his life.

Along with Deadpool fighting in the buff, the film’s torrid scenes between Wade and Vanessa, and Deadpool’s non-stop and off-color verbal stylings, all contribute to the film’s R-rating.  “I think the R-rating allows us to have a level of reality that wouldn’t be possible with a PG-13,” says Miller.  “I also think it’s an important step in the expansion of the genre.  There’s a type of film that can only be made with this rating, and that really expands the boundaries of the stories comic book movies can tell.”

“Deadpool” star and producer Ryan Reynolds has no bigger fan than Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee, who has a fun cameo in the film and also serves as an executive producer.  “There’s never been a character like Deadpool, and Ryan Reynolds plays him as though he was born to play the role,” says Lee. “Just like Robert Downey, Jr. was born to be Iron Man, you just can’t picture anybody else besides Ryan as Deadpool.”

51703768 Actor Ryan Reynolds suits up to film and action scene on a viaduct for "Deadpool" on April 7, 2015 in Vancouver, Canada. The new Marvel movie tells the story of a former Special Forces operative turned mercenary who is subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers. FameFlynet, Inc - Beverly Hills, CA, USA - +1 (818) 307-4813
51703768 Actor Ryan Reynolds suits up to film and action scene on a viaduct for “Deadpool” on April 7, 2015 in Vancouver, Canada. The new Marvel movie tells the story of a former Special Forces operative turned mercenary who is subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers. FameFlynet, Inc – Beverly Hills, CA, USA – +1 (818) 307-4813

Reynolds embraced the character’s myriad (and often twisted) facets.  “In the comic book world, Deadpool is a man of our time with the ability to spout just the right thing, in terms of a pop culture reference, at the worst possible moment,” he quips.  “That’s what makes him interesting to me and also makes him sort of limitless.”

The character’s accessibility is defined partly by his twisted sense of humor.  “It really draws you in,” Reynolds notes.  “Deadpool has this bright, optimistic outlook on life, even though his life is pretty shitty.  I mean, he’s become horribly disfigured from the experiments that gave him his powers.   And, he can’t find love and he’s more than a little insane.”

Reynolds’ director is also infused with Deadpoolian traits.  “Tim has a bit of Wade Wilson’s acerbic attitude in him,” says Reynolds.  “He sort of speaks, moves and talks like him, too.  I think that helped Tim access the character.  He really understands how to balance the over-the-top action and humor with pathos, because in some ways, Wade Wilson is a tragic character.”

DEADPOOL Angel Dust (Gina Carano) roughs up barkeep Weasel (T.J. Miller), in DEADPOOL. Photo Credit: Joe Lederer TM & © 2015 Marvel & Subs.  TM and © 2015 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.  All rights reserved.  Not for sale or duplication.
DEADPOOL
Angel Dust (Gina Carano) roughs up barkeep Weasel (T.J. Miller), in DEADPOOL.
Photo Credit: Joe Lederer
TM & © 2015 Marvel & Subs.  TM and © 2015 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.  All rights reserved.  Not for sale or duplication.

Bringing the exploits of an unconventional superhero to life sometimes created an equally unexpected vibe on set.  Notes Stan Lee: “When you see Tim Miller and Ryan Reynolds working together, they are both so in sync; they see the movie the same way.  It’s though they’re playing a game and each one of them is doing his job so magnificently.  When I did my scene in “Deadpool,” I didn’t even know I was working.  When it was over, I said, ‘When do we start?’ and Tim said, ‘You’re finished.’  That’s how effortless he makes it seem.”

The filmmakers remain convinced the time is right for this unique movie event.  “When comic book movies first appeared, they had to be ‘tentpole’ movies, which had to appeal to the broadest possible audience,” Miller says.  “Deadpool was always meant to be an edgy film, and the time is right for it.   The genre of superhero and comic book films is wider and it feels like it’s time to do a film like this, that sort of pushes the boundaries a little further.”

Rated R-16 by the local censors board, “Deadpool” will open in IMAX and 2D cinemas on February 10 from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.