The votes are in, and it's time now for the conglomerate post of posts. I might end up planning a whole post dedicated to The Da Vinci Code, because this one turned out rather funky. Despite its oddness, I hope you like it.

Apparently, the worlds of fiction and reality are no longer seen as distinct entities by an alarming number of people. By definition, the very idea of fiction is that it is not real. Conversely, reality is real, as evidenced by the fact that the word reality contains the letters R, E, A, and L in that order, oddly enough.

Most of us have no problem distinguishing between fact and fiction. This is not so true, though, of a large portion of the Catholic population, as well as a certain author by the name of Dan Brown. Enter Brown's explosively popular novel The Da Vinci Code.

I have read this particular novel, and despite the author's disclaimer at the beginning, I enjoyed the story for what it was: a semi-decent [fiction] story. I naively assumed that when Brown claimed that all the elements of the book were true except for the characters themselves, he was doing so for the sake of making his story more believable. I was quite mistaken, however. The man was serious. He actually believes everything he's written!

As the sand runs out of the hourglass before the movie version of The Da Vinci Code is released, religious groups (Christian and Catholic groups, largely) have stood in opposition of the film, calling for boycotts. Hollywood has no need to spend millions on advertising, they've got the best advertising they could ask for, free of charge.

To say the least, it is amusing that a fiction story could create such waves, especially considering the fact that the book was published over three years ago and the religious fanatics are just now waking up to its presence. Commence speculation.

Interestingly enough, the book is the second in what was intended to be a series of Robert Langdon (the main character) stories. The first book, Angels & Demons, also involves the Vatican, albeit more directly. If you have read this first book, you might have found that The Da Vinci Code had essentially the same plot with a few new characters thrown in to replace the old ones. Original.

In a related story, CIA Chief Porter Goss suddenly declared his resignation. When asked why, Goss cryptically stated that "it's one of those mysteries." Conspiracy theorists and the media have jumped to wild conclusions, all of which involve money and bribery, much like how Liberty Mutual (the insurance company) used kickbacks to lift sales.

Should one look closer, however, the money and security issues surrounding Goss are mere veils. Each story is intended to cover up the next. As it turns out, the gross amount of news coverage for The Da Vinci Code is a cover for Goss's real reason for suddenly resigning. Goss is not actually resigning, other than for the papers, because he's going underground for Operation Jack.

That's right, "Jack" is the name of the game. Enter two stories, both involving something Jack-related. In Jacksonville, some fool decided to put a flashing blue light on his car and parade around town as a cop. He even went so far as to pull a woman over. Second, Michael Jackson is suing GQ magazine for using a 'poser' for a story about him. He claims that they used a look-a-like for the photo-op, and is morally outraged that anyone other than the tabloids would stoop so low as to use a 'poser.'

Operation Jack is extremely covert, so remember to keep your eyes peeled for any story pertaining to Jack. On the surface, such stories seem unrelated, but reading between the lines, as the Da Vinci Code teaches, makes things much clearer.

So be in the lookout for strange things on the horizon, and by that I don't mean anything like the rock fin growing on Mt. St. Helens. Although that is beyond cool.