A Touch of the Ludicrous for a Tuesday Morning

There is even that curved line on the neck that reminds me of a collar.

imageFirst:  Entertainment critic Kayla Hawkins has some suggestions for a second season of the USA Network’s show Dig with a story premise about an FBI agent in Jerusalem who discovers a 2000 year old plot. She suggests an episode on the Shroud of Turin in season 2 which she describes this way:

Supposedly the Shroud of Turin (many people believe it’s the shroud in which Jesus of Nazareth was buried) defies carbon testing, DNA testing, has a strange indecipherable pattern — what could the real-world meaning be behind this holy object? Even if it dissolves into Da Vinci Code “Jesus’ descendants” nonsense, it will surely be fun.

Now, doesn’t that sound like a television critic.

And Then:  There is a posting that appeared in the Italian language Sacra Sindone blog. What follows is is a Google translation, which in itself is ludicrous:

This is portrait of King Louis IX with his young wife. For me and my mother appears OBVIOUS that the man of the shroud and Religion IX (who died at the age of 56 years) are the SAME PERSON. This portrait of King Louis IX as a young man, has "escaped" to Phil Kingippo beauty, which destroyed all authentic portraits of King Louis IX and made it to the other false, because it was he – because of money -a pass the shroud done with the body of King Louis, to that of Jesus’ . In fact he did kill the Templars because they wanted at all costs to say the truth, and that was the reason that even the Pope Celestine V is bare ‘papal event not to give in to his blackmail; As for the sheet, it may have been made with a type of seaweed that has the characteristic similar to a carbon copy.


Humor for Today: The Shroud Authenticated By Antiques Roadshow

imageThe spoof blog Vatican Enquirer posted Shroud Of Turin Authenticated By Antiques Roadshow. It begins:

THE VATICAN – The hosts of long-running TV series Antiques Roadshow from the United States, UK, and Canada teamed up at the request of Pope Francis and have determined that the Shroud of Turin was without a doubt Jesus Christ’s funereal blanket.

After hours of examining the tattered 8 cubits by 2 cubits piece of blood-stained linen, Mark Walberg (PBS), Fiona Bruce (BBC), and Valerie Pringle (CBC and heiress to the Pringle Chips empire) announced that the Shroud is legitimate and “could fetch upwards of $200 million (BPS 131, $204 CDN).”

And there was this at the end:

American reality TV show Pawn Stars was also asked by the Vatican to examine the Shroud but declined, saying their participation could put the legitimacy of the research in doubt.

“If it was in mint condition, I’d have been interested,” said Richard “Old Man” Harrison, star of the History Channel’s Pawn Stars. “But it’d be hard for us to sell when you can get a pretty realistic Shroud knock-off printed on a beach towel for around $99 with free overnight FedEx delivery.”

The Poke in the Eye Award for This Sunday Morning

goes to Colin Berry for a comment to You cannot fold and unfold a painting (and more). Guess who has been poked.

Would someone care to make me an offer for the GENUINE Mona Lisa?

Yes, this is the real one, not that cheap and garish imitation that hangs in the Louvre.

There are three ways you can tell that mine is the original. Firstly, all, and I mean ALL the original paint pigment has fallen off, leaving just a ghost of Da Vinci’s original.

Second, you will note that what remains is a tone-reversed negative. Yes, when pigment detaches from a Da Vinci, one is left with a negative of the original. Not many people know that.

However, the real proof that mine’s the original comes from entering the image into a 3D rendering program:

Only a genius of the highest order – Leonardo Da Vinci – centuries, nay millennia ahead of his time – was able to paint an image that degrades to leave a photographic negative with encoded 3D properties.

Message to prospective purchasers: informal ostentations are held nightly at my home, 3, Railway Cuttings, East Cheam. Entrance is free, but viewers are expected to purchase the East Cheam Pilgrim’s Badge, cast in durable epoxy resin for a special reduced price (£35 plus VAT).

Lest the wrath of God descend upon them like a ton of bricks

Angel, in a comment directed at Colin Berry, wrote:

… I am not stating you haven’t spent an enormous amount of time and energy attempting to recreate a likeness that would disprove the Shroud image. That is commendable, although antithetical to Christian belief. Yet, it is your right, as a scrutinizing scientist….

How could Colin not reply, even if it meant breaking his umpteenth pledge to never again comment in this “insistently proselytizing pro-authenticity” blog. He states:

Angel: there’s nothing “antithetical to Christian belief” in being a sceptic where the TS is concerned. Ask the Vatican if you don’t believe me.

This philosophical badinage reminds of a humorous letter to the editor of Nature. From four years ago:

Strangest Quote Ever on the Shroud of Turin

imageCesare Emiliani, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Miami, world renowned geologist, known for his work on marine sediments and plate tectonics, in a letter to Nature following the carbon dating of the Shroud in 1988.

Religion is perfect and unchangeable, the work of God. Science is imperfect, and, I suspect, the work of the Devil. The two should never be mixed. The scientists who participated in the dating of the Shroud of Turin should repent and promise to never do anything like that again. Creationists are even more guilty, for they have been mixing science and religion for years and years.  They should abandon their evil practices forthwith, lest the wrath of God descend upon them like a ton of bricks.

What’s with the wind noise and the big stick?

Hat tip to Joe Marino

This has to be the most unusual skeptical YouTube I’ve seen on the subject of the shroud’s authenticity. Don’t worry, it is only two minutes long.

Did he just say it is easier to fit a round peg in a round hole?

Hat tip to Joe Marino

Remembering the Post

Yesterday, a reader wrote:

A couple of years ago you wrote a parody of an article about Luigi Garlaschelli. I am preparing a lecture on the Shroud and was thinking of using the fake article as a humorous handout. I have not been able to locate it. Do you have a copy that you can send to me.

Actually, it was five years ago. As I read it now I am embarrassed. It was kind of stupid (nah, maybe it was a bit funny). Here is the boring original news story from Reuters. In tracking it down I found this lead up link to it in PZ Myers’s Pharyngula, unquestionable the leading New Atheists blog out there. Here, below the line, is what I wrote (undoubtedly late at night sitting alone in some Jimmy Buffet Margarita Ville bar that I can’t remember. Feel free to use it. And there is no need to give me the credit.

ROME (Reuters) – An Italian scientist says he has reproduced a human being, a feat that he says proves definitively that humans, which Christians say are made in the image of God, are medieval fakes produced using materials and techniques that were available in the middle ages.

A scientifically-made mannequin, measuring 6 feet, 2 inches tall, looks eerily like Luigi Garlaschelli, the scientist himself.

"We have shown that is possible to reproduce something which has the same characteristics as a human being," Luigi Garlaschelli, who is due to illustrate the results at a conference on the para-normal this weekend in northern Italy, said on Monday.

A professor of organic chemistry at the University of Pavia, Garlaschelli made available to Reuters the paper he will deliver and the accompanying comparative photographs.

The mannequin resembles the back and front of a bearded man with long hair with his arms crossed on his chest. He has two hands, two feet and a single head with two eyes and two ears.

Since Darwin, evolutionary biologists have believed that humans evolved along with other animals and plants from a common ancestor. But scientists have thus far been at a loss to explain why some people smoke cherry flavored pipe tobacco since it offers no evolutionary advantage.

Garlaschelli, who received funding for his work by an Italian association of atheists and agnostics, expects people to contest his findings. “They didn’t believe me when I reproduced the Shroud of Turin, Quantum physics and the Egyptian pyramids, thus proving that they, too, were medieval creations. “

“It works for me,” said PZ Myers, pastor of the Morris, Minnesota Pharyngula Church of Fundamentalist Atheists. “I was getting tired of evolution, anyway. I believe everything I read in the newspapers so long as it doesn’t conflict with my beliefs. If humans are manmade, that’s fine. I still don’t need to believe in God.”

Garlaschelli said the funding for his work by his own organization of like-minded atheists had no effect on his results. "I always start with results," he said. “That way, I always arrive at the desired conclusion.”

Humor: Shaggy Dog Story Award for Familiar Logic

it takes a certain type of person to even read this posting

imageYou may or may not want to read the shaggy dog posting, The Alien "Shroud of Turin" in the UFO Museum Collections, Portland , Oregon.

Even though I am a ufologist this is not an object that I know a lot about. For all I know it may be a fake? But by the looks of it. . . . Accidents like this cannot be fakes. At least they usually are not fakes. The Elvis tortilla probably was a fake . . . etched by some one with a wood burner tool? This piece is nothing like that.

imageYou get the idea.

I asked Google to find a similar image. So, for fans of such things, the Google algorithms found proof that aliens were here in 6000 B.C. (when people rode dinosaurs, right?)

Look carefully: there are aliens, flying saucers and poker holes in an L shape. (Not to worry: I still disagree with Colin Berry et al and think the third drawing in the Hungarian Pray Manuscript is based on the shroud).

Glen Beck, Genius on the Shape of the Nose

imageHugh Kramer who has an Atheism column in The Examiner tells us Glenn Beck defends the ‘Jesus Pancake’

There’s a big flap over a flapjack in the news and the Christian blogosphere this week. The whole thing began on Good Friday when a cook in the Cowgirl Café of Norco, CA was trying to make a Mickey Mouse pancake but ended up with something wholly (holy?) unexpected instead: a johnnycake with the face of Jesus on it. . . .

Didn’t know about this big flap? You are lucky. The story continues:

And now, Glenn Beck is adding his two cents worth. On his radio program yesterday, Beck defended the possibility that the Jesus pancake was indeed a divinely-inspired message from God.

“I’m not one that buys into the, you know, toast and the pancake and stuff like that, but I’m also not willing to reject things that people interpret as a good sign of hope…”

“I don’t want to question God,” said Beck. “I really believe we are entering a season of miracles… and I’m not going to [second?] guess on somebody else’s miracle that’s giving them peace.”

To emphasize the possibility of a miracle, Beck put an image of the face on the Shroud of Turin and a photo of the Jesus Pancake side-by-side and remarked upon the similarities, mainly “the shape of the nose.”

His co-hosts however, were unimpressed.

Wait a minute, Beck was showing the pictures on a radio show? A radio show?

Tweet for Today: The Shroud of Turin and Bigfoot


Skeptic’s Society Pat Linse said Shroud of Turin is fake like Bigfoot. Shroudies very upset by comparison. Bigfooties upset even more.

December’s Flippancy Award: What Would Jesus Do?

clip_image001From the Bicycle Story blog:

Little is known about the All-Powerful Bicycle Lobby (APBL). In fact, until the Wall Street Journal’s Dorothy Rabinowitz made a video last Spring lamenting the APBL’s efforts to “begrime” New York City with Citi Bikes, few people (if any) knew that the group existed. Exactly who they are and the extent to which they influence the world’s affairs remains unclear. But, I had the rare opportunity to interview the APBL and help shed light on their dark conspiracy. In it we discuss their history, their slow and steady reshaping of the free world, their end game, and much more.

Your shadowy organization remained a secret until Dorothy Rabinowitz exposed you in her screed against New York’s bike share this year. How did she discover the truth?

We think it might have had something to do with the 6,000 bright blue bicycles we placed on just about every corner of Manhattan and Brooklyn. Wealthy New Yorkers can ignore all kinds of things—from homeless children to the fact that most of the city’s public schools and hospitals are being demolished and replaced with luxury condominiums—but apparently bicycles are a bridge too far. Looking back, we realize we could have taken a more subtle approach in our attempt to secretly turn New Amsterdam back into Amsterdam. But it’s like Oprah always tells us at our weekly poker games, “Go big or go home, shitheads.”

How long has the APBL been asserting its influence on the world?

We don’t have official records, but we recently uncovered research proving that the Shroud of Turin was actually a towel that Jesus used after he completed his first century ride. (When anyone tells us that biking in sandals isn’t safe, we typically tell them that we actually know what Jesus would do.)

Yeah, that’s how it all starts.

A reader sent this in. It appeared in an online comic book last week:


The artist added, “Yeah, that’s how it all starts.”

Click on online comic book for a more readable version.

Maybe Vermeer Made the Shroud of Turin

This is devastating. Someone is certain to think that Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675 A.D.) faked the shroud, probably with a Toys R Us electric scorching pen. Someone will discover that the Girl with a Pearl Earing has two eyes and a nose in the same place on her face as the grand master himself. And we thought Shroud Science was sophisticated. This guy spent years and money painstakingly building a replica of Vermeer’s home.

I missed the story in Vanity Fair last month. But there it was, in the doctor’s waiting room, and me on those pain pills for sciatica that help make sense of every thing.

Reverse-Engineering a Genius (Has a Vermeer Mystery Been Solved?)

David Hockney and others have speculated—controversially—that a camera obscura could have helped the Dutch painter Vermeer achieve his photo-realistic effects in the 1600s. But no one understood exactly how such a device might actually have been used to paint masterpieces. An inventor in Texas—the subject of a new documentary by the magicians Penn & Teller—may have solved the riddle.

Penn and Teller? Not to worry! They’re Atheists! Whew! Bias! This is no more devastating then Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince and their theory that Leonardo photographed himself for the shroud. Notice the resemblance between Clive (left of Lynn) and Vermeer.



You need to read both lines of the headline

I sort through a lot of nutty, robot-generated stuff every day; and some non-robot stuff that is just as nutty. I think, however, this blog entry in Men Dating Badly, this morning, is robotic. The real story is not about the shroud but the stories linked from the left:


If you must, you can click on the screen clipping to see it in full size.

Like I said, some nutty material is not robot generated. The best example comes from Ray Rogers. I remember conversing by email with him on some of the craziness. He wrote back:

Yes. I get lots of lunatic-fringe mail too – – – and telephone calls. Some of the calls come in the middle of the night…perhaps catalyzed by too much Pinot Noir. My favorite was a guy who pointed out that when you cover a "daid boddie" with a cloth, the flies come to the smell. "They poke their little noses through the cloth. And you know what flies leave – – – little black specks. "Jest look at that image real close, and you will see that it is made up of a whole bunch of fly specks." By that time I was rolling on the floor, and I couldn’t answer him.

You get the picture!

Shroud of Turin Ads on my iPhone

imageLet me see if I can net out a bit of information that may or may not be important to you. From USA Today on Friday:

Google’s stock jumped $122.61, or 14%, to $1,011.41 Friday . . .  Google is now the fourth company trading on a major exchange to have a stock price of $1,000 or more.

The reason behind Google’s stock’s latest move higher came late Thursday when the online advertising company reported a profit of nearly $3 billion during the third quarter, up 36% from a year earlier and exceeding estimates.

And in another story, also in USA Today, we learn:

The reason is a surge in mobile ads, which cost less per unit and have lower click rates than those served onto desktop computers.

So if you are searching for material about the Shroud of Turin on your regular computer you are not seeing the ads I’m seeing when I search on my iPhone. And who is advertising on my iPhone?

The first ad reads, “Distortion in Shroud image cleaned up, reveals clearest picture ever.”  You want to click in and watch the movie (any computer will do) for at least one and a half minutes. You will be doing so on the Urantia Book website. But before you click on the Donate button or buy the book, you might want to read some (just some) of the Shroud of Turin Report from this website. They have a somewhat different understanding of what happened:

The name Michael is used to designate Jesus in his status before incarnating on this planet and after his resurrection. The name of our Local Universe is Nebadon. The most senior “angel” in the administration of Nebadon (after Michael) is known as Gabriel. So, with regard to the spiritual beings that are involved in the spiritual administration of Nebadon, Gabriel was left in charge when Michael incarnated as Jesus.

[ . . . ]

At ten minutes past three o’clock,  . . . the chief of archangels—the angels of the resurrection—approached Gabriel and asked for the mortal body of Jesus. Said the chief of the archangels: “We may not participate in the morontia resurrection of the bestowal experience of Michael our sovereign, but we would have his mortal remains put in our custody for immediate dissolution. We do not propose to employ our technique of dematerialization; we merely wish to invoke the process of accelerated time. It is enough that we have seen the Sovereign live and die on Urantia; the hosts of heaven would be spared the memory of enduring the sight of the slow decay of the human form of the Creator and Upholder of a universe. In the name of the celestial intelligences of all Nebadon, I ask for a mandate giving me the custody of the mortal body of Jesus of Nazareth and empowering us to proceed with its immediate dissolution.

The long and short of it is this is how the Urantia Book folks believe the shroud image was formed. I don’t think I’ll donate.

As for the second ad, I think the odious description says it all: “A Forged Image of a Fake Jesus from the False Church.”  I say click on it a few times and waste their money. Every time you click they have to pay Google a fee. Oh, go ahead, click again.

It is a bit late to buy the stock. I laughed at the idea of Google when it was $85.

Light Fun: The Renault 4L Pope Mobile

imageFrom the keyboard of Mark Collins in this morning’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, brief mention of the Shroud of Turin as in a ‘my mechanic’s rag looks like’ kind of thing. Others than that, mildly humorous:

I was surprised by your choice of car (a 29-year-old Renault 4L for il Pape?), and even more surprised that you chose Luigi’s for your service needs. Thank you for this honor. It has 186,000 miles?! A miracle!

As you noted, there seems to be a small overheating problem. Although white smoke is good in your line of work, it’s not so good for a Renault. Of course we will solve this issue and I’ll return the car promptly. Of course no charge.

Sanity Break: This beats crops circles

image“It has a certain shroud quality,” writes a reader:

Dario Gambarin uses an unusual medium for his art — a field in Castagnaro, Italy. His latest work is a 328-foot portrait of Pope Francis, created in six hours with a tractor.

Gambarin says he "uses his plough as a painter would a brush," according to The Telegraph. He doesn’t measure the field before beginning, but uses his instinctive sense of proportion to use the field as his canvas.

Someone will undoubtedly lay a copy of the shroud over the photograph of the field and announce that this proves the shroud’s image was created by a space alien named Leonardo, which rhymes with Gambarin, right?

And this will do what for my game?


Remember When Nobody Had Heard of the Shroud of Turin?

Now it is a popular allusion in just about any subject  Here is what Google delivers up just this morning for MSM news items containing the term, “Shroud of Turin.”

Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez fantasy camp continues in San Diego  CBSSports.com-by Scott Miller-6 hours ago or anyone, for that matter – can take Rodriguez seriously anymore when talking with him is a far greater mystery than the Shroud of Turin.

Topping admits pushing through Scottish football’s revolution left    Daily Mail-9 hours ago. Hearts are on the brink, while the threat of administration hovers over others like the Turin Shroud. Only one club show any signs of prospering

Smithsonian director would ‘love’ to display Travyon Martin’s hoodie msnNOW-Aug 1, 2013. Skolnick wasn’t talking about the Shroud of Turin; he meant the most famous hoodie in the history of cotton-polyester blends. Trayvon Martin’s


  • Thalian curtains might be oldest in entire U.S. StarNewsOnline.com-Aug 1, 2013. Rivenbark jokingly compared the original curtain to the Shroud of Turin, "which keeps disappearing and coming back." It hung in the theater
  • Jeer the Beard: A Good-Bye Letter to Brian Wilson (blog)-Jul 30, 2013. Here are all those orange foam beards and bearded rally rags and t-shirts with Shroud of Turin-like beard imprints on them we bought and ..
  • Giving Birth in the US: A New British Mum Tells All Anglophenia-Jul 30, 2013.  It’s, ahem, an “important” piece of fabric — what, like the Turin Shroud? — which you use to wrap objects that “speak to your energy, your
  • Live Local, Live Small: encore Online-Jul 30, 2013, Until recently the lightest weight cover was not-so-affectionately known as “The Shroud of Turin” by Jock. It was the bed cover I made for my first apartment.

Gary Habermas on the Shroud of Turin

Dr. Gary Habermas lecturing on the Shroud of Turin at Biola University in La Mirada, CA.  This is apparently part of an ongoing series of lectures and I was not able to find the date. The video was just uploaded June 27, 2013. (This is an interesting lecture though the video and sound quality is marginal.

Gary Habermas is the Distinguished Research Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Theology at Liberty University. He has published 36 books, 18 of them on the subject of Jesus’ resurrection.

Hat tip: Joe Marino

The Mallard Reaction

imageWhile walking the dog in the morning, I have been listening to Michael Pollan’s book, Cooked. Suddenly, he mentioned a \MY-yard\ reaction. What, I thought, was he talking about? And the dog wanted to know why I was mumbling to myself. Then it occurred to me. Pollan was referring to a Maillard reaction. I knew this because he was talking about browning meat. I remembered, then, flippantly telling Ray Rogers that I thought a Maillard reaction was what happened when you let the dogs loose near a duck pond. Okay, he got it, dumb joke that it was, even though the word is not pronounced \mal-erd\.

  • Here are some pronouncing options over over at howjsay (be sure speakers are on).
  • Here is how to say it in French over at Forvo (it is a French word, after all)

Now, when I give talks about the shroud, people won’t snicker at my mentioning what Mallard ducks do.

What Else Doth Passeth All Understanding?

clip_image001Some of the email I receive. One might think this was spam except that it is so specific.

Of recent I contacted you and your organization regarding a claim for the "Shroud of Turin," of which it is referred to now. I am asking you once again how you wish for me to proceed in pursuing that claim without hardship, animosity or anguish to any of the parties involved therewith. Within it contained the remains of that which I am and my predecessors were related. We are prepared fully and completely to undergo any and all tests that said keepers of the Shroud and its governing body and/or government require to prove that we are physically related to that of the soul whose body was enshrouded therein.

I guess I should forward this to Turin.

To hide away and suppress the Cluny Medal

imageI wrote about Colin’s New Blogging Style but don’t bother to read what I wrote. It’s now boring. Just go to his blog, and starting at Shroudie-Alert: Day 4 (you may need to scroll down to Day 4) read downward until you get all the way to the bottom of “Shroudie-Alert: Day1. Chief topic: the Lirey Pilgrim’s Badge and that enigmatic chain…”

Has Colin just taken “I think I see” to a new level of what was for Rogers blatant pseudoscience? Colin certainly knows (and he could be more forthright in saying so) the waist chain he sees on the Cluny Medal is highly speculative. His imbedded drawing of Jacques de Molay in such a chain is simply I-don’t-know-what. Nickell-ish? Pseudohistory? And, of course, Colin has found a similar chain on the shroud. No, no. I’m not going to summarize. Go read his blog.

Later (higher up in the text) he goes into conspiracy theory mode when it comes to the Cluny Medal and shroud authenticity in general:

imageThere is something profoundly wrong here. The Shroud of Turin is reputed to be the most studied artefact in history, but there seems to be an attempt (organized? systematic?) to hide away or suppress the first known souvenir/representation of the Shroud in European history – mid 14th century, coinciding with its very first public viewing. If nothing else, the Lirey pilgrim’s badge shows how the Shroud might have looked before the disfiguring 1532 fire, the latter sadly obliterating much detail. Maybe that’s the problem for some who are determined to push Shroud authenticity … who carefully choose which science, which history to proselytise, and which to sweep under the carpet.

Anyways, via Colin’s blog, thanks to Hugh Farey, we are all reminded of Mario Latendresse’s great “A Souvenir from Lirey page. But don’t tell anyone about it so we can continue “to hide away or suppress the first known souvenir/representation . . .”

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