Thursday, January 22, 2009

Apocalypse Not

Barack Obama has now been inaugurated and completed the first day of his Presidency, and the apocalyptic predictions of the "Parowan Prophet," Leland Freeborn (Disaster predicted in Obama's path, Peter H. King, LA Times, 13 December 2008), have not been borne out. "Readers remember me," Freeborn wrote in a letter to The St. George, Utah, Spectrum & Daily News on 08 December 2008,

...also known by millions who have heard me on talk radio stations in the United States, across Canada, Ireland, Australia and Europe warning of World War III. They know me as the "Parowan Prophet."

I have passed 100,000 hits on my Web site with free survival information. Google has my site listed. Now I think that you should hear what my opinion about the Obama election is: that he will not be the next president.

I said on my home page in August that if he lost, to expect to see the "Riots" that 2 Peter 2:13 tells us about. He didn't lose. But the story is not finished yet. I still think they may begin the riots before Christmas 2008 as I said.

King reported visiting Freeborn shortly after his letter was posted to get a read on the pre-inaugural mood in Parowan, and discuss his prophecy that in response to "the riots" the Soviets would rain down nukes on the US, killing at least 100,000,000.

Freeborn conceded that he’d issued similar warnings many times before, and still the world kept spinning. Prophecy, he said, is not an exact science.

“I’ve been at it for 30 years, and I have always really believed it,” he said. “Now, if we go on, that’s great. Maybe we can get some more people to repent.”

King's story ends with the following parting gesture from Freeborn:

He presented us with brown medicine bottles filled with iodide crystals – to ward off the effects of radiation.

“I don’t think you are going to finish your trip back East,” the Parowan Prophet said, urging us to reconsider our journey to the inauguration.

I visited Freeborn's website recently, and I can report that he's not only an idiot, he's a racist idiot. At the inauguration, his homepage declares in underlined text, "...millions of Blacks will be gathered within just a few square miles of area. The largest gathering of Blacks in the history of the world. Even a small "Nuke" would burn 25 square miles." Elsewhere he invites the reader to find out "[w]hat God's prophets have said for thousands of years about Blacks." Happily, the underlined link didn't work, and I wasn't inclined to search his site too thoroughly, if you know what I mean. I couldn't resist checking out the photos, though, which seem to fall into three general categories, being either of him, his "ParowanProphet.Com" billboard and likewise decorated RV parked defiantly in front of various Latter Day Saints temples (he's apparently an outcast from the main LDS Church), and numerous images of nuclear detonations ("Hell's Fire will burn children too! And it will start newspapers on fire 20 miles away."). Following what must be one of the unwritten rules governing the design of crank websites, Freeborn's is a welter of text in constantly changing colors and font sizes ranging from very small to very large, shifting between left justified and centered format, without any apparent organizing visual or dramatic principle. Together with randomly placed capitalization and underlining, the whole effect is like listening to a guy alternately whispering and shouting irrational drivel directly into your ear.
It is nice to know that, since nothing Freeborn warned about has happened yet, we still have time to repent - or perhaps get something done - before the next predicted Apocalypse. In the meantime, as one HowardStucki commented beneath Freeborn's letter:
Hey Parowan Prophet....tell me who is going to win the super bowl this year. Thank you. I'll send you a check. Just a thought.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

More from Budapest

A visit to Nagycsarnok (Central Market Hall) on Fővám Tér, 9th District (03 January 2009):
And...(vegetarians avert your eyes)....

Monday, January 05, 2009

Franken Close to Final Victory in Minnesota

Ever since I mistakenly discounted Al Franken's chances in his Senate race with Norm Coleman, I've been following the recount process in Minnesota with increasing elation. Sometimes it's really a pleasure to be wrong. Franken has been ahead in the count for some time, and it now looks like he is the winner. According to the latest Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune story I could find (Minnesota canvassing board expected to say that Democrat Al Franken is winner in Senate race, Amy Forliti, 05 January 2009), Franken is up by 255 votes (out of almost 3 million), and the State Canvassing Board appears ready to certify the results. Coleman still has some options for further legal challenges, but they look more and more like last ditch obstructionist tactics that will only delay the inevitable. Cool!
It's been amusing to read the irate comments of some Coleman supporters who can't accept the conclusion that reality has not gone their way this time. A common theme has been that Franken and the Democratic Party have somehow "stolen" the election. People have such short memories. But that's just one of the things that makes these comment threads so much fun to read...!
Update added later: It's official, a done deal! Franken's victory speech is on AP video via YouTube:

Friday, January 02, 2009

Happy New Year: The View from Patca (1)

Winter Morning on the Farm at Patca (01 January 2009)
Patca (pronounced something like pot-sa) is a microscopic village in SW Hungary, roughly 40-50 Km south of Lake Balaton and about the same distance north of the Croatian border. There's nothing much there except for a rough "theme park" modeled on a traditional self-sustaining Hungarian farm. In the Summer, children can go there and meet characteristic varieties of Hungarian farm animals; in the Winter - at New Year's, for example - large groups can rent space in one of a couple of dorm style lodges, use it as a base from which to hike around the countryside and nearby villages, find a suitable place to light a fire just before midnight, and party outdoors until everyone is frozen stiff. Then they hike back to the lodge and continue to party until nearly dawn. If everyone has more or less known each other for years, the communal style eating, drinking, and bunk bed sleeping arrangements work pretty well. Each family prepares their own food in advance or on the spot, and freely share with everyone else ("Hyena style", as one of the younger guys put it: "If you see a group of excited Hungarians, inevitably there's some food in the middle of it.").
This was the view from the front door as some of us left for Budapest on New Year's Day. Although it was freezing when we arrived on the 30th, there was no trace of snow, nor did any appear on the 31st - but a light dust was falling as we walked back to the lodge around 1 AM, and it remained on the trees to greet us in the morning.
Winter Morning View in Patca (01 January 2009)