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British Expat Newsletter:
7 June 2006

Hello, and welcome to those who have joined up since our last newsletter.

In this issue

  • This week: Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia
  • Virtual Snacks
  • Bizarre Searches
  • Quotation and joke

This week

If you’re given to looking at the numbers in the date as they change, you’ll have noticed that yesterday was the sixth day of the sixth month of the sixth year of this millennium.

666, of course, is the number of the Beast in the Bible’s Book of Revelation. So it’s hardly surprising that there’s been a small flurry of interest. Some of it, of course, has been in fun. We know of some techie guys who’ve inscribed “666” in tiny numbers on the circuitry they’ve been working on – so that when the next overhaul takes place the person discovering the inscription can scream “Aaargh!” and blame the fault on Satan.

Inevitably there’s been a certain amount of commercial cashing-in too. Much of heavy rock is based on a certain amount of “devil-worship”. We’ve all heard the stories – heavy metal stars biting heads off pigeons, kids inspired to commit suicide or murder after hearing Satanic messages when they play their records backwards – and although most of it is urban legend, it appeals to the rebel in many teenagers. US heavy rock band Slayer decided to parody their country’s National Day of Prayer by holding a National Day of Slayer, and selling a limited run of 666 teeshirts to mark the day. And 20th Century Fox chose to release the remake of the 1976 classic horror film “The Omen” – remember Patrick Troughton getting impaled? – on 6/6/06.

On the other hand, some Christians have taken it rather more seriously. Dutch Evangelists believed that Satanists would be particularly active on 6 June, and resolved to mark the occasion with a “violent day of worship” – a 24-hour vigil starting at 1800 on 5 June in Jerusalem, to try to counter the evil forces with prayer. (I’m not too sure where the “violent” comes into it – perhaps a loose translation of the original Dutch word – but it does sound funny to have violent prayer…) Some expectant mothers even asked to have their labour induced to avoid their children being born on the day.

The fear of the number 666 is known as hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia. Fine if you’re fluent in Greek, I suppose. One man we once met was very coy about giving out his mobile phone number – he had to paraphrase it in all sorts of strange ways to avoid saying “666”. He might have found it easier just to change his number. But I suspect he rather liked it as a way of subtly advertising how Christian he was.

Of course, yesterday only had any significance if you’re a Christian and you follow the Gregorian (“Western”) calendar. Eastern Christians follow the Julian Calendar, which is thirteen days behind – so they’ve got it all to come on Monday week. And of course non-Christians follow a plethora of different time-reckonings, from the Jews in the year 5765 to the North Koreans in the year 95. Mind you, they wouldn’t necessarily place any great significance on a date 6/6/6 anyway…

Do you have anything to say about this topic, or do you have some suggestions for other issues we might discuss in our weekly email? Why not comment and tell us about it?

Virtual Snacks

Just a few suggestions if you have a little time to spare:

The Weekly World News is the fantasy edition of the National Enquirer. It’s weekly, its stories come from all over the world, and it’s news in the sense that you’ve never heard it before – because it’s all (or almost all) been made up. They often have news about Satan. A laugh if simply because it’s so stupid. Here’s the online version:
Weekly World News online

Here’s a rather thoughtful piece in praise of Lucifer – if you can get round the fact that it’s white text on a black background. Ugh!
Lucifer.com

Bizarre Searches

Some strange search terms which have led people to visit British Expat recently:

  • buying habits of spain
  • biggest cottonmouth
  • espanish in i already forget you
  • glasgow olympics chips husband wife
  • how to build a giant
  • lahlahlah means
  • an elephant asks a camel
  • die glazer flag
  • shower fun wife
  • gay hockey
  • rabbies in bats
  • turkey view on cats

Till next time…
Happy surfing!

Kay
Editor
British Expat Magazine

Quotation

Wherever God erects a house of prayer,
The Devil always builds a chapel there;
And ’twill be found, upon examination,
The latter has the largest congregation.

– Daniel Defoe, author, journalist and spy (1660?-1731)

Joke

A man dies and goes to hell. There he finds that there is a different hell for each country and decides he’ll pick the least painful to spend his eternity.

He goes to the British hell and asks, “What do they do here?”

The demon at the gate tells him, “First they put you in an electric chair for an hour. Then they put you on a bed of nails for another hour. Then the British devil comes in and whips you for the rest of the day.”

The man does not like the sound of that at all, so he moves on. He checks out the US hell, the Russian hell and many more. He discovers that they are all similar to the British hell.

Then he comes to the Nigerian hell and finds a long line of people waiting to get in.

Amazed, he asks the last woman in the queue, “What do they do here?”

The woman tells him, “First they put you in an electric chair for an hour. Then they put you on a bed of nails for another hour. Then the Nigerian devil comes in and whips you for the rest of the day.”

“But that’s exactly the same as all the other hells! Why are there so many people waiting to get in?” asks the man.

The woman smiles. “Because there is never any electricity so the electric chair does not work.

“The nails were paid for but never supplied, so the bed is comfortable to sleep on.

“And the Nigerian devil used to be a civil servant, so he comes in, signs his time sheet and goes back home for private business.”

PG Author: Kay McMahon

Kay has been an expat for nearly 30 years. She set up the British Expat website back in early 2000, whilst living in London and missing the expat life. These days she spends much of her time lugging computers and cameras around the world. (Dave gets to deal with all the really heavy stuff.)

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