Post #700: Spider-Man Memories

This issue of The Amazing Spider-Man—issue #700—had a February 2013 publication date but actually appeared on the stands at the end of December 2012. It was the conclusion of the “Dying Wish” storyline, which had Peter Parker and Dr. Octopus in some kind of Freaky Friday situation, swapping bodies. It was also the last issue […]

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Route 666: Let Him Who Hath Understanding . . . (Post #666)

You see, what had happened was, I saw this neat photo of a goat with the Number of the Beast sign and saved it for some nebulous later usage that never cropped up for the next couple of years.

Then I saw that my 666th post on WordPress was approaching. I had written a post patting myself on the back for my 600th post. Why not give myself a trophy for the 666th as well? I may not be a Millenial, but I like trophies. Plus, I’d get to use my goat pic.

Yes, this is my 666th post. Yay, me!

I had spent some time thinking about this one, and what’s the significance of the number itself. Well, it’s a triple digit, and those are always fun. If I think about it, I may write a post for 777 and 888 as well. Probably not for 999, though. I’ll just wait for one more.

It’s more than the triple digit thing, though, isn’t it? As I alluded to in the title, and—indirectly—with the goat, this particular number has Biblical significance. Some have argued that the number was mistranslated and was meant to be 616. But, I passed that number long ago and I like the symmetry of three sixes more.

So, it’s hard to celebrate my 666th post without at least alluding to the Antichrist, right? I’m no Biblical scholar. I knew about the Number of the Beast—or the Mark of the Beast, if you’d prefer—through other sources.

There was the movie The Omen, of course. 1981’s Omen III: The Final Conflict, the one with Sam Neill, was the first of these that I saw in the theater, and it left a lasting impression. I did read the novelization of The Omen, as I recall, written by David Seltzer, who also wrote the screenplay. These movies, which helped fan the flames of the Satanic Panic in the 1980s, also increased interest in The Book of Revelation in the Christian Bible, which was the source of most of the Antichrist material.

It was also where I was first exposed to W.B. Yeats’ “The Second Coming.” What rough beast slouches, indeed.

This book of the Bible, alternately known as “Revelation to John,” “Apocalypse of John,” and “Revelation from Jesus Christ,” among other names, was among the last of the books accepted into the Christian canon. I was going to write an entire post about the Book of Revelation, but found myself going cross-eyed while I tried to read it. It’s full of symbolism (most of which has to be explained to me) and not such an easy read. During the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther wasn’t too keen on the book, calling it “neither apostolic nor prophetic,” and churches that derive from the Church of the East reject the book outright. To my knowledge, the Eastern Orthodox Church still leaves it out of its Divine Liturgy. The book is purported to have been written by John of Patmos as a record of a vision delivered to him by Jesus Christ. There’s still debate as to whether or not this was the Apostle John, though there’s little doubt that it had a different author than the book known as The Gospel of John.

The Book of Revelation was of a genre, popular at the time it was written, known as apocalyptic prophesy. If John de Patmos were alive today, he might be a staff writer on The Walking Dead. This was meant in jest; I try not to blaspheme.

At any rate, somewhere in this book, it’s said that the number of beast is 666. I recall some of the buzz around Hal Lindsey’s The Late, Great Planet Earth, that 1970 mainstream bestseller of eschatology. I think I even saw the movie version, narrated by Orson Welles, with my parents in 1976. Back then, it seemed reasonable to believe that the Rapture would occur by 1988. Surely, these were the End of Days. The state of Israel was reborn, the European Economic Community (which preceded the European Union) was helping to created a revived Roman Empire ruled by the Antichrist. Somehow, as I recall, the mark of the Beast was somehow linked to the Universal Product Code (UPC) bars for tracking trade items in stores, which were gaining popularity in the 1970s. It may have even been suggested (or else this is a false memory) that each human being would be assigned a numerical code as well. You mean, like a Social Security or a passport number?

And this was all years before Iron Maiden released its influential metal album Number of the Beast in 1982.

What did the number 666 signify? There. That’s the mystery that makes this interesting to me.

When Reagan was president, certain people suggested that he was the Antichrist because he had six letters in each of his names: Ronald Wilson Reagan. Seriously. I know how it sounds, but there were people—even people that I knew—who firmly believed this.

Gematria is the use of an alphanumeric code or cipher that assigns a numerical value to each letter in a word. It was popular with the early Jewish Christians. The Greek name for the emperor Nero seems to translate in gematria to 666. Some people believe that’s who John of Patmos was writing about.

I pulled up a gematria calculator on line and computed the numerical value of my real name. In Jewish Gematria, it equals 1217. It’s 1290 in English Gematria, and 215 in Simple Gematria. Before you try it, it doesn’t seem that Donald Trump is the Antichrist either.

For giggles, here are a few words and phrases that do add up to 666 in Jewish Gematria:

  • Prophecy
  • Only One God
  • This Is A Hoax
  • The Mind Control Agenda of CIA
  • Barack Obama As A President

In English Gematria, “Billie Eilish” equals 666. Just sayin’.

That’s it. My purpose here is not to preach or fan the flames of Satanic Panic or cast aspersions upon the incredibly talented Ms. Eilish. This was just a brief diversion about a number. A self-centered celebration, if you will. Recognize!

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It’s a Good Record, Man: “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars,” by David Bowie — a music review

When you say “Ziggy Stardust” most people know the David Bowie work you’re referring to, although the actual title of the 1972 album is “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.” This was a concept album that may have been a bit bigger than its concept. It was preceded by […]

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Issue #600: All New! 80-page Giant Golden Anniversary Issue (or maybe I just put up my 600th post)

This post has nothing at all to do with issue #600 of Action Comics, which was published in 1988 and celebrated 50 years of Superman history. Three additional decades have passed since then. Side note: there’s no traditional 80th anniversary gift, unless it’s a headstone or cremation urn. It’s not that this comic book wouldn’t […]

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Am I a Nerd?

For me, the word “nerd” didn’t exist until the television series Happy Days. That was the term the super-cool character Fonzie used to describe everyone who wasn’t—well, him. We all wanted to be Fonzie, of course, but none of us were. Including Henry Winkler, who played Fonzie. The truth is, most of us were nerds. […]

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Bill the Accidental Racist

  Prior to joining the US Post Office four years ago, I spent nearly three decades in retailing management. Retailing has it good and bad points, and I became convinced that it’s definitely a career meant for the young and healthy. But, that’s not what this post is about. This is a true story about […]

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Back Surgery (2019)

I had spinal surgery during the morning of April 4, 2019. I spent three nights at UAMS, a teaching hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas, about thirty-five minutes or so from my driveway when traffic is favorable (which is seldom). Now, I am back home and on the mend. My surgeon fused several thoracic discs that […]

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