Friday, January 13, 2012

Rosary Workout

For some people exercise is their religion. But what if you could combine physical and spiritual fitness in one program?

Author Peggy Bowes, a devout Catholic, has the answer. Through her book, "The Rosary Workout," you can discover how to pray and exercise at the same time.

I was completely unaware of this Rosary-exercise combo until I happened to hear Peggy on the radio while dialing through the shortwave band. EWTN, the Eternal Word Television Network, has a SW radio outlet. EWTN is a cable TV channel started up by a nun in the 1980s to reach the masses to draw them to the masses (and the collective collection plate). Peggy was a guest on the program, "Blessed 2 Play," described as "spiritual sports radio."

For those of you unaware of the Rosary, it is a set of prayer beads that loops back on itself, a circle with one row hanging from the bottom with a small crucifix. Think of a large O with a tail. The prayer holds a bead between thumb and forefinger, each bead representing a prayer that has to be said in proper sequence.

The saying of the Rosary can taken some time, especially if the person is meditating on the spiritual aspect of the rite which is supposed to be the whole point of the rite. But with practice it can be over fairly quickly. One time I attended a funeral and the priest sped along as he lead everyone in prayer. His rate of utterance was close to what you hear on TV or radio when the ad announcer races through all the disclaimers, twenty-seconds-worth of words said in less than five. I'm not judging that priest; maybe he was running late and had another funeral to attend or a bad bladder.

At there's this review of "The Rosary Workout:"

Kneel. Stand. Sit. Stand. Kneel again. "Catholic calisthenetics" is no longer just for church! The Rosary Workout is the real thing: exercise science and authentic Catholic teachings combined to strengthen body and soul and deepen your awareness of God's presence in every facet of your life.

I find this concept of saying the Rosary to regulate exercise a bit disconcerting. I was raised by parents devoted to the Roman Catholic Church. The Rosary was a sacred rite not to be mixed with ordinary secular activities. It was to be used for times of deep meditation or special intervention.

For example, a family needed a miracle: one member was in the hospital, dying from a terminal illness. The rest of the family knelt together in the living room of their home and prayed the entire Rosary, beseeching through the Blessed Virgin Mary for Godly grace.

But to go to the gym and work out on a treadmill while saying the Rosary, getting sweaty while toning your sexy bod? OK, that's not as extreme as an adulterer saying penance while copulating with his mistress but...

For a long time I've been a "lapsed Catholic" (AKA devout atheist). So I'm not upset by this new trend to tap into the yuppie need for a trim body. I just find it strange. Go back five decades in Catholic time and such a proposal would be considered heresy.

But times have changed. During the interview Peggy said her husband wasn't Catholic. In the dark ages that wouldn't have flown. Back in the 1970s you could read in a textbook for Catholic high school students that Catholics should only marry other others of the One True Faith. No unions with non-Catholics. The person of the "lesser faith" had to convert to Catholicism.

So with faith mixing comes exercise-Rosary mixing. But this isn't surprising, considering the severe financial hit the Roman Catholic Church has taken from being on the losing end of lawsuits involving pedophile priests. Of course, the church was reprehensible, covering up the misdeeds of child molesting priests while moving them to another parishes where the priests could easily sin again (and did).

Listening to Peggy Bowes on the radio, she sounds like a very pleasant lady who sincerely believes that her program can benefit everyone, even non-Catholics. Praying the Rosary, she stated, attracts the presence of good angels while driving away the bad ones (demons).

Angels are an important aspect. She wanted to use the concept of nine choirs of angels for her exercise program but in her research she found that some expressed doubts whether it was biblical. Then one day during a beautiful sunset she saw a sign: nine mini-clouds in the sky.

Me, the last few wintry days around here have been generally overcast, dark and depressing. I take that as another sign there is no God.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

2012: The Year The World Ends (Again)

It’s another new year in which we’re faced with eschatological excrement of a taurine nature.

In 2011 biblical scholar/radio broadcaster Harold Camping was rapping that the Rapture was happening on May 21. Some of his followers emptied their bank accounts, donating all to the cause: billboards, books, etc. Money gone forever.

Nothing happened.

Camping’s organization said sorry, no refunds.

Then Harold said he was a bit off with his calculations, that all good Xtians would bodily ascend into Heaven on October 21 before the world was destroyed. Again, nothing.

Between his two predictions Harold suffered a mild stroke that affected his speech. This prompted one Xtian Website to pose the question: “Was Harold Camping's stroke punishment from God?”

In the meantime it seems that the only world that is ending is Camping’s.

After such events in 2011 you think we would get some time off from the End Times. No such luck.

This time the target date is 12/21/12, based on the Mayan calendar. There’s been enough buzz about that scenario so I won't rehash it. Instead I want to focus on a lesser known Prophet of Doom: Nancy Lieder of .

Nancy is one of those believers in Planet X, that rogue orb that will or already has entered our solar system to wreak havoc.

Back in 2003 she said Planet X was here. She told listeners on a radio program that they should put down their pets. After all, it would be hard to feed Fido and Fluffy when everyone was scrounging for food.

I wonder how many prematurely euthanized critters ended up in pet cemeteries due to her failed prediction.

Where does Nancy get her inside info on the cosmic timetable? From a brain implant courtesy of some aliens from the star system Zeta Reticuli, made famous by the Betty and Barney hill abduction.

Nancy has said in Zeta Report videos available via YouTube that through the Zetas she has met many different kinds of aliens. Cartoonish illustrations of these myriad ET types are included in the videos. One time she met a “Beanbag man” with a slug body. Another time she met an eight-foot dinosaur being that had a kind soul like Mother Teresa. Cold blooded doesn’t mean cold hearted, she points out.

Obviously Nancy is in a unique position to predict the future.

And as for her failed 2003 prediction, she stated that it was a “white lie” to fool The Powers That Be. She has stated she won’t reveal the date because that would give the Establishment enough time to declare martial law and hinder survival efforts.

In the meantime some people are connecting her Planet X with the doomsday talk related to the Mayan calendar. So when December 21 rolls around be prepared for a near miss or collision.

Or nothing.

Critical Skepchick Shows Uncritical Thinking

I almost missed this item from last year: Elevatorgate!

Rebecca Watson, leader of a core of skeptical women over at, was attending a conference in Dublin, Ireland during June 2011 and a guy in an elevator hit on her (or so she claims). No, the man didn’t assault her, just asked her back to his room to discuss various issues over a cup of coffee.

Apparently Rebecca didn’t like being a hittee. Her lecture topic at the conference dealt with anti-feminism. It really bugged her the Elevator Guy was “sexualizing” her.

Really. Is this the same Rebecca Watson who posed nude for Skepchick calendars?

It’s too bad that the Elevator Guy got the shaft.