Wednesday, September 5, 2018

The Last Pope

There was a time when the whims of the Catholic Church ruled the world. It's known as the Dark Ages.

On April 2, 2005, Pope John Paul II passed away and was given the Rite of Extreme Unction.

As prescribed by traditional ritual of the Catholic Church in these circumstances, the chamberlain entered the room and asked the Pope, "Are you dead?"

The chamberlain then tapped the Pope's head with a silver hammer and repeated the question. Assuming there was no reply, the chamberlain called out the Pope's baptismal name. With no response from the deceased, the chamberlain officially declared the Pope to be dead.

Pope John Paul II was replaced by a German cardinal named Josef Ratzinger who dubbed himself Pope Benedict XVI, not to be confused with Pope Benedict V who raped a young girl in 964 and absconded to Turkey with the papal treasury, or Pope Benedict IX who was so immoral he was forced to flee from Rome in 1032.

As Pope Benedict XVI took over in 2005, a very curious process has been taking place in the procession of Popes.

Nearly a thousand years ago, in 1139, an Irish saint called Malachy met with Pope Innocent II in Rome. Known for his gift of prophecy, Saint Malachy went into a trance and received a vision about the future of the papacy. He described 112 popes who were to follow, beginning with Celestine II who became Pope in 1143.

Saint Malachy gave his list of 112 popes to Pope Innocent II who promptly stored it away in a vault where it remained for more than 400 years until its rediscovery in 1597.

Although dismissed by some, Saint Malachy's prophesies have been remarkably accurate right up to the present. For example, Saint Malachy's descriptions of the previous several Popes include the following.

Pope #108 – Malachy described him as "Flos Florum" which means "flower of the flowers." Pope Paul VI (1963-78) was Giovanni Battista Montini whose coat of arms included three flowers of iris.

Pope #109 – was termed "De Mediatate Lunae" by Malachy which means "from the half moon." Pope John Paul I (1978) was Albino Luciani who was made Pope on August 26, 1978 when the moon was half full and died a month later during the next half moon.

Pope #110 – Malachy called him "De Labore Solis" meaning "out of a solar eclipse." Pope John Paul II (1978-2005) was Karol Josef Wojtyla who was born during a solar eclipse on May 8, 1920.

Pope #111 -- The Malachy prophesy referred to him as "Gloria Olivae" which means "glory of the olive." This may be a reference to an olive branch which is the Biblical symbol of peace. Pope Benedict XVI tried to become a peacemaker between religions or nations in the troubled times of 2005. He retired in seclusion is 2013.

Pope #112 -- Pope Francis is the current Pope and last Pope on the list. He is the first Jesuit Pope. Born in Argentina, he is the first Pope from outside of Europe since the 8th century and the first Pope from the Southern Hemisphere.

According to the writings of Saint Malachy, the last Pope (#112) "will feed the sheep through many tribulations, at the term of which the city of seven hills (Rome) will be destroyed, and the formidable Judge will judge his people. The End."

The end, indeed.

Jesuit priest Malachi Martin, a close confidante to Popes for some 30 years and author of 16 books about Catholicism, was a Dead Seas Scroll scholar and chief exorcist for the Vatican, having been the role model for the priest in the movie THE EXORCIST.

Father Martin was one of the few people who had knowledge of the Third Secret of Fatima, a prophesy given to some children in 1917 by the Virgin Mary concerning the future after World War II. Just prior to his death in 1999, Father Martin claimed that this prophesy predicted terrible wars and diseases that will wipe out whole nations, three days of darkness, violent tornadoes and storms, and parts of the earth being washed into the sea. He believed this would happen not long after Pope John Paul II (#110) passed away, which occurred in 2005.

In 1139, St. Malachy described the next 112 popes in startling accurate detail, to be followed thereafter by the End of Days.

Pope #112 is presently at the helm -- end of the line.

A rather interesting set of circumstances.

As I write this in September of 2018, the Catholic Church is in internal turmoil and the world is in global turmoil. Perhaps it's time to build another ark, or move to Neptune.

Quote for the Day – "I don't need a psychiatrist, I'm Catholic." Dorothy Kilgallen

Bret Burquest is the author of 12 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a couple of dogs and where there is no shortage of churches.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

How to Live a Long Life

The top ten ways to live longer, according to, are as follows: 

1) Don't oversleep – A study in the ARCHIVES OF GENERAL PSYCHOLOGY reported that people who sleep between 6 and 7 hours per night live the longest.

BB -- Personally, I sleep about 10 hours per night. That way, I only need to take two naps during the day, plus I spend so much time in bed that I'm not as likely to be run over by a truck.

2) Be optimistic – Researchers at the Mayo Clinic determined that optimists have a 50 percent lower risk of early death compared to pessimists.

BB -- I'm a pessimist and proud of it. Optimists have high expectations which are not always met, causing endless disappointment. However, pessimists are never disappointed because they never expect anything to work out. I'd much rather be pleasantly surprised on occasion than disappointed.

3) Have more sex – An April 2004 study in the JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION found that sex keeps us healthy, by reducing stress and making us happier.

BB -- Apparently, I'm doomed to live a very short life.

4) Get a pet – Studies show that people who own pets, especially dogs, are less stressed, thus live longer. It decreases loneliness, encourages nurturing and stimulates exercise.

BB -- I've always had a dog or two hanging out with me. If I didn't have a dog, I'd be stuck with my alter ego and an oak tree for companionship.

5) Get a VAP – Heart disease is the number one killer in the USA. A traditional cholesterol test only detects 50 percent of the people with heart disease. A VAP test has been shown to detect 90 percent of heart disease patients.

BB -- Since I'm in the V.A. medical system, I'll just have to live with 1952 technology and take my chances.

6) Be rich – According to the National Center for Health Statistics, those with the highest poverty rates have the worst health status. Higher incomes permit access to increased medical care.

BB -- However, I prefer to remain poor because I don't like to pay too many taxes and no one ever tries to borrow money from me.

7) Stop smoking – Just about everyone on this planet knows by now that smoking is bad for your health and frequently leads to premature death.

BB -- I started in junior high and quit ten years later. I did it because all the cool dudes did it. And I quit because I realized that the coolest dudes of all were the ones who had minds of their own.

8) Chill out – A study at Johns Hopkins University revealed that men having the highest level of anger in response to stress were over three times more likely to develop premature heart disease than those with lower anger responses, and over six times more likely to have a heart attack by age 55.

BB -- I was often stressed and angry in my younger days, until I finally realized suffering was an important part of life and that I should embrace it.

9) Eat antioxidants – Free radicals are unstable chemical compounds that accelerate the aging of our cells and contribute to various degenerative diseases, including atherosclerosis, Alzheimer's and cancer. Antioxidants destroy free radicals. Research shows certain types of beans and berries are the best sources of antioxidants.

BB -- I eat berries once in a while but tend not to eat too many beans, particularly in public, for obvious reasons.

10) Marry well -- According to a study in MECHANISMS OF AGING AND DEVELOPMENT, genetics is an important factor because longevity genes can be inherited. Healthy aging is passed down from generation to generation.

BB -- My ex-wife married well, both before and after her marriage to me. I wasn't so lucky. In my own family history, all the men die young and all the women live forever. I think it has something to do with nagging.

May the Force be with you.

Quote for the Day – "At my age, it's nice to be anywhere." George Burns

Bret Burquest is the author of 12 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a few dogs and where life is good.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Zone of Silence

In 1970, a U.S. Athena missile was fired from a location in Utah, scheduled to land in the White Sands Missile Base in New Mexico. However, it went about 900 miles off course, without apparent explanation, and crashed in the Sonora Desert in Mexico, over a hundred miles south of the Big Bend area in Texas.

A few years later, a Saturn booster rocket used in the Apollo program broke up over the same area.

The U.S. military sent a team of engineers to investigate the area, which starts some 25 miles north of the tiny community of Ceballos, Durango.

One of the first things the engineers discovered was that it was impossible to transmit radio waves in the impacted area -- walkie-talkies and portable radios would not work, television signals could not be received in the scattered neighboring ranches, microwave or satellite signals failed to penetrate. Even airplanes flying over the region experienced instrument malfunctions.

Apparently, some sort of magnetic anomaly stifles radio waves in the region.

Thus, it became known as the Zone of Silence -- about 1,500 square miles of uninhabited flat terrain, loaded with thorny desert plants, infested with poisonous snakes and containing bizarre animal mutants.

For example, insects and tortoises are known to grow to three times normal size. Centipedes are a foot long with purple heads. The tortoises have no tail. And it is the only region where cactus grows in specific shades of purple and red.

In the 1800s, scattered farmers attempted to eke out an existence in this region whereupon they became aware of the "hot" stones that fell nightly from the sky.

Apparently, the Zone of Silence is like a bizarre magnet for meteorites. Within the Zone, there's a stunning "field of meteorites" area containing millions of meteorites scattered everywhere.

In the 1950s, a scientifically significant meteorite crashed in the vicinity. According to researchers, it contained material as old as the universe.

On February 8, 1969, the largest meteorite ever found on Earth (the size of a Buick) crashed into the Zone of Silence. It's known as the Allende Meteorite.

The 1970 U.S. military team of engineers discovered the area to be a hot bed for meteorites. The soil contains significant magnetic ore, possibly due to eons of meteorite bombardment from above. Plus, the mountains that surround the Zone of Silence also have various uranium deposits.

The Zone of Silence lies south of the 30th parallel, just north of the Tropic of Cancer -- the same latitude as the Bermuda Triangle and other bizarre planetary anomalies.

Ancient ruins have been located in the Zone of Silence but archeologists have been unable to determine the age and exact purpose of these structures, which were possibly utilized as an astronomical observatory. Furthermore, there have been discoveries of six-mile long man-made platforms, a man-made hill in the shape of a pyramid, and carved stone statues of animals.

Not surprisingly, the Zone of Silence is also a Mecca for UFO activity.

In 1976, a huge rectangular UFO passed over the town of Ceballos, witnessed by virtually everyone in town.

The same year, a photograph was taken (by a tourist) of a UFO that had landed on a hill within the Zone of Silence.

Travelers through the Zone of Silence have reported seeing strange lights maneuvering at night, floating motionless, changing colors, then taking off at great speed. Other witnesses who have spotted these mysterious lights at night have discovered vegetation the next day that appeared to have been burned by fire.

Encounters of mysterious beings have also been reported within the Zone of Silence. The most typical encounter has been with Nordic types -- a common UFO entity that is around 7 feet tall, with long blond hair and blue eyes. In UFO terminology, they are often referred to as Pleiadians.

Reportedly, two months before the U.S. Athena missile crashed into the Sonora Desert, Wernher von Braun (premier U.S. rocket scientist) made a visit to the Zone of Silence, creating speculation that the missile may have been purposely fired into the Zone of Silence to give U.S. personnel an excuse to enter the Zone for some undisclosed purposes (such as exploration or experimentation). The U.S. military even built a special railroad spur into the Zone to haul away the remains of the rocket, tons of magnetic dirt and perhaps other items.

Life is a mystery. You can accept it as is, leading to the bliss of ignorance -- or you can explore it, leading to the next mystery.

"Hello darkness my old friend...
I've come to talk with you again...
Because a vision softly creeping...
Left its seeds while I was sleeping...
And the vision that was planted in my brain...
Still remains...
Within the sound of silence."
(lyrics by Simon & Garfunkel)

If you want to explore a true mystery, spend your next vacation in the Zone of Silence. Leave your cell phone at home, keep an eye out for snakes and be very polite to seven-feet blond Nordics.

Quote for the Day – "Silence is refreshment for the soul." Wynonna Judd

Bret Burquest is the author of 12 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a few dogs and where silence is a valuable commodity.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

A Dragonfly Tattoo

Recently, there have been several dozen dragonflies randomly circling individually in my backyard, in and around my pond. Dragonflies hunt in flight and eat a wide variety of insects, including mosquitoes. They are welcome to stop by anytime and hang out at my place.

Many years ago, I wrote a newspaper column about dragonflies, which also became a chapter in one of my books, titled 1111 HAPPY TRAILS ROAD -- included below.

A Dragonfly Tattoo

Women are a mystery -- the ones that are easy on the eyes are never easy on the nerves. They speak several languages, one of which is verbal.

I once stood in line in at Wal-Mart behind an attractive woman who had a tattoo of a dragonfly on the small of her back. I asked her if she knew the significance of the dragonfly whereupon she asked me if I knew the significance of minding my own business.

As relationships go, it was remarkably short.

Dragonflies, much like tattooed women, have their fair share of weirdness. They make themselves invisible to airborne prey by using a system called “motion camouflage.” It tricks the victim’s retina into perceiving the dragonfly as a stationary object blending into the background. Thus, the dragonfly becomes “invisible” even though it’s moving forward. Often, the pursuing dragonfly will fly away from its target rather than toward it to maintain the disguise.

I had become familiar with the dragonfly years earlier when I lived in the Arizona desert where a man who claimed to be a shaman gave me a reading using 44 Native American Indian medicine cards. He explained that as we come into the Earth Walk, there are seven directions, each aligned with a particular ability or challenge, surrounding our bodies -- East, South, West, North, Above, Below, and Within.

Then I drew seven medicine cards representing the seven directions in my Earth Walk.

·         East – Wolf. The wolf awakens the teacher within to understand the Great Mystery of life.

·         South – Armadillo. The armadillo teaches us to define our boundaries or space.

  • West – Dragonfly. The dragonfly reveals the illusionary facade of physical reality.

·         North – Hummingbird. The hummingbird encourages us to enjoy the succulent nature of life.

·         Above – Bat. Bat medicine teaches that to become your future, you must die and be reborn. 

·         Below – Whale. Whale medicine people have the psychic ability to tap into the universal mind.

·         Within – Antelope. The antelope empowers us to honor the gifts sent from the Great Mystery.

The West medicine card reflects the internal solution to your present life challenges and reveals how to reach your desired goals. In my case, this is represented by the dragonfly.

According to the shaman, this world is full of nature spirits. Dragonfly medicine indicates knowledge received from the spirits of the four basic elements of air, earth, fire, and water. Dragonfly medicine is the essence of the winds of change. Messages of enlightenment and knowledge were supposedly being communicated to me, especially during the dream-time, causing a transformation where illusion was being replaced by true wisdom.

I was indeed going through a transformation at the time. The physical world seemed more like a robotic world of worker bees toiling in a giant rat race to maintain an economy that seemed more like a pyramid scheme than an intelligent way of life. Humanity was being duped into a self-perpetuating system of servitude to a formation of suffocating governments and mega-corporations whose only purpose was to ensure their own growth.

For a government or mega-corporation, it meant survival -- to an individual human being seeking peace of mind, it was madness.

When I returned home from Wal-Mart, a dragonfly was perched on my mailbox, reminding me to always be aware of the world around me.

For example, a woman who wears a tattoo is a woman who wants to be noticed. And a woman who wants to be noticed is a woman who wants to be admired. But the moment you express a hint of admiration, the same woman will instinctively reject you. Men may rule the world but women rule the men.

A dragonfly tattoo is a subtle form of camouflage – you can admire it but must pretend you don’t notice it.

Quote for the Day – "You think I am a fool, but you are a greater fool." Sitting Bull

Bret Burquest is the author of 12 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a few dogs and an imaginary girlfriend named Tequila Mockingbird.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Path of Life

Life is a journey without a map. You come to a fork in the road of life and choose a direction.

When things that once shocked you begin to amuse you, you've crossed the first barrier of true wisdom. Every time I reach a new age in life, I spend a long day dwelling on my painful past, blessing the present and ignoring the future. Then I wake up the next day and start all over again.

While everyone follows a different Path in Life, there seems to be a general pattern.

Age 1-3 – You are a mass of human jelly trying to walk across the room without falling on your face.

Age 4-5 – You’re a helpless squirt being cared for by flawless parents who love and protect you.

Age 6-12 – You struggle through grade school, making friends and dodging bullies. Somewhere along the line you discover your parents aren’t exactly perfect and embarrass you with their mere existence

Age 13-17 – As a teen-ager, you stumble into your niche as one of the in-crowd or a jock or a nerd or a greaser or a nobody. No matter which category you fall into you’re an outcast but you don’t actually realize it unless you’re a nobody. You become rebellious of authority and change your hairstyle accordingly.

Age 18-20 – If you’re lucky, you go on to college and party for four years. If not, you marry your high school sweetheart and begin a life of quiet desperation involving employment, raising a family and maintaining a lawn.

Age 21 – You are now of legal age to consume alcohol, so you discard your fake ID’s.

Age 22-29 – You get a job that’s much less exciting than expected and try real hard not to go insane spending five days a week working for some lame idiot. You don’t think much about the future, except to fantasize about winning the lottery or writing a novel or sailing around the world or becoming a movie star.

Age 30 – Your first real zero year. You sense you’re in a rut and consider doing something drastic, like switch jobs or switch spouses or join the Merchant Marines. Instead, you change your hairstyle.

Age 31-39 – You coast along, fairly optimistic about the future. You’ve acquired a bit of money by now and perhaps have the house and automobile you’ve always wanted.

Age 40 – A bad zero year. You ponder deep thoughts about the meaning of life. Material things seem less important and you wonder what went wrong so you change your hairstyle reflecting your contemplative mood.

Age 41-49 – You switch from a fancy car to a practical car. If you have kids, they are going off on their own to screw up their own lives. You begin to read self-help books, buy a treadmill and eat more yogurt.

Age 50-59 – You put on a few pounds that are now harder to take off than when you were younger. You stop eating yogurt and start eating whatever pleases you the most. The treadmill collects dust in the garage.

Age 60 – Another bad zero year. You have now slipped across the line to become an old codger. You begin to worry about your health and change your hairstyle from stylish to whatever is the most comfortable.

Age 61-79 – You have lots of conversations about medical procedures and read the obituaries daily. Your back goes out more than you do and you change your hairstyle one last time, just for something exciting to do.

Age 80-99 – You smile more often but don’t know why and call everyone “Bub” because it’s easy to pronounce. Your favorite exercise is sitting and you now have more hair growing out your ears than on your head.

Age 100+ -- You now live in a strange world of young whippersnappers who seem to be from a different planet. You spend much of your time trying to remember things, like your own name and where you put your teeth.

Quote for the Day – "True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country." Kurt Vonnegut

Bret Burquest is the author of 12 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a few dogs and where life is something you do when you can't sleep.