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What does the handwriting on the wall say? Who wrote it? What wall is it on? Is it in pencil, crayon, spray paint? Why should I care what it says?

-- Pardon Me, San Diego

Funny you should ask. Right now, that is. The handwriting on the metaphorical wall said, Mene, mene, tekel, parsin. If you don't know what that means, then you're in the same party boat with King Balshazzar of Babylon and his guests. The fifth chapter of the biblical book of Daniel runs it all down. Seems the king was hosting the ultimate revel. Lots of pigging out and drinking too much, blaspheming, false-idol worship-- self-indulgence run riot. At some point, shortly after neighbors called the cops, I think, a disembodied hand crashed the party. On the rumpus room wall it wrote Mene, mene, etc. Daniel translated for the bewildered Balshazzar: his king gig was about to come to an end. That pretty much broke up the party. The king himself was a goner not long after. What makes your timing interesting is that Babylon is present-day Iraq. You take it from here.

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