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by: Max Burbank

"From the deepest part of Western Europe
A young child will be born to poor people:
Who will by his speech seduce a great multitude,
His reputation will increase in the Kingdom of the East"

"The ancient work will be accomplished,
and from the roof evil will fall on the great man.
Being dead they will accuse an innocent of the deed:
the guilty one is hidden in the misty woods."


Students of the Occult with a particular eye toward prophecy and Sixteenth Century France will recognize the above quatrains as two of the more remarkable predictions made by the French physician Michel de Nostradame, better known as Nostradamus. In C3, Q35, the ‘deepest part of Western Europe’ is obviously Austria, and the ‘young child’ ‘Who will by his speech seduce a great multitude’ is certainly Hitler, or ‘Hister’ as the seer refers to him in later quatrains, making reference not only to the Great Dictator’s name but also his birthplace; Hister being the Latin for the river Danube on whose shores Hitler was born. With equally uncanny accuracy Nostradamus forecasts the Kennedy Assassination. "from the roof" doubtless refers to the shot fired from the Book Depository and if the ‘Misty Wood’ isn’t the Grassy Knoll, then what else is it?

The Great Seers remains now rest within the walls of the Church of the Cordeliers of Salon under an inscription which translated from the Latin reads;

"Here rest the bones of the illustrious Michel Nostradamus, alone of all mortals, judged worthy to record with his near divine pen, under the influence of the stars, the future events of the entire world."

All well and good.

But you kind of have to admit, the opening quotes are his best shots. Most of the other Quatrains are softballs prophecy-wise. World ending in fire, mass genocide, trouble arising in the Middle East. I mean, really. Show me a fifty year span of recorded history when trouble wasn’t arising in the Middle East. Genocide is pretty much what humans do to pass the time when organized sport ceases to be sufficiently entertaining and fire? Number one way to end things, coming in significantly ahead of both Flood and Pestilence.

"Hmm, I wonder what B.S. I can come up with today!"

Be honest. You know sooner or later things will end badly for all of us, and if you’re reading this essay, my guess is you’re not even mildly psychic, let alone a prophet. You’re almost certainly a useless little college student living in your parents basement or a jobless statistic who’s footing atop the internet bubble turned out to be a tad softer than anticipated. You don’t need to be Nostradamus to guess a chunk of land that three world religions claim as their own might turn out to be a hotspot.

I don’t know about you guys, but what I look for in a clairvoyant visionary is a ‘heads up’ about the horrors I had no way of anticipating on my own. Where the hell was old Nostro on the Singin’ Bellybuttons? I scanned every damn quatrain, sixtain, rain in Spain and everything else ending in ain, there’s nothing that could even loosely be seen as a television commercial with singin’ belly buttons, so how good could he have been, really? I mean one lousy little rhyming couplet hinting that someday I might sit down in front of the TV with a nice tube of Pringles and a gallon of Jeagermeister and instead of a nice, relaxing session of ‘America’s Most Wanted’ I’d have my frontal lobe brutally sanded by the singin’ bellybuttons might have saved my insurance company some very hefty therapy bills. If the Goddamn Prognosticating Escargot Muncher could guess Hitler’s name, shouldn’t an ingeniously crafted Brain Eraser like the Singin’ Bellybutton Commercial have registered on his Magic, Galic, Future Predictin’ Bowl O’ Water?

Okay, sure, if this was just a bunch of Bellybuttons made to sing via the glories of computer animation and the Oracle of the Jerry Lewis Lovers had missed it, okay. No harm, no foul. But it’s far more complicated than just the fact that these Bellybuttons sing. Oh yes, my friend. It’s nothing so simple.

What do they sing? "I’m coming out" by former Supreme, Ms. Diana Ross. What are we to make of this bizarre choice? What subliminal message are the mad scientists of Madison Avenue insidiously bundling with their cathode rays?

  • A.) These Belly buttons are going surge forward like pop up thermometers on thanksgiving turkeys, becoming ‘outies’.

  • B.) These bellybuttons are admitting they only desire intercourse with bellybuttons of their own gender. Since all the bellybuttons are on female abdomens, we will assume the ad is an endorsement of Lesbianism among bellybuttons.

  • C.) Something directly behind the bellybuttons is singing. Remember that scene in ‘Alien’?

  • D.) Anthropomorphic bellybuttons actively endorse the Disco Revival.

Singin' Bellybuttons. OH THE HORROR!

Attentive viewers of this ad (and I cannot for the life of me recall what it is trying to sell) will note a brief shot of a small, terrified, African American, male child. As this is the only fully human image the viewer sees, we are doubtless supposed to identify with this child. I know faced with this terrifying mutation and it’s joyous celebration in song, I’m terrified, and I’m only watching it on TV. The people who made this ad want you to see the child’s fear. They are saying ‘Yes, you are right to fear these marching, singing Bellybuttons. You SHOULD be afraid. You live in a horrifying unpredictable world full of monsters, the unimaginable CAN happen and the manner of your death will indescribable!’ If Frenchy La Big Brain had warned me about this I think I might wake up screaming a few less times a night, because I’d have known to lay off TV summer of ‘01. He’d of said "Hey, you might make yourself a nice reading list, cause pretty much from June on it’s nothin’ but Singin’ Bellybuttons, Bears and Cavemen." I mean, Good Christ, what if thinking I’ve already seen the worst I proceed blithely forward and next week there some friggin' commercial with Bears, Cavemen AND singin’ Bellybuttons? I’ll have to blow my brain out and who’s gonna care for my wife and kids then? How about writing me a cute little quatrain to answer that question, Mr. Public Urinating, Euro Disney Bashing, Cheese and Wine Elitist, Cryptic Bastard! It was bad enough you never told me there’d be a Mayor McCheese, but I got over that. I learned to live with the notion of a publicly elected figure with a Cheeseburger for a head, I even came to see it as charmingly ironic, but not letting me know the Singin’ Bellybuttons were coming, that’s pretty much unforgivable. Look, it’s easy;

"Millennium and one, in every home a windowed box
will spill forth marching armies of exposed girth
and once healed umbilic wounds proclaim in song
sisterly affinity for Gay Disco Tunes"

That’s the kind of eerie foreshadowing I’d find useful. Nostradamus Schmostradamus, if he can’t warn me about that friggin’ ‘Zoom Zoom Zoom’ kid in the Mazda ads who needs any part of him?

Hi I'm the Zoom Zoom Kid! KILL ME PLEASE!
Thanks a lot Nostradamus... THANKS FOR NOTHING!

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