pennies for the dead )part I)

Yeah yeah, I know that my detective stories are unpopular and always peter out before I finish them. But I’ve never written a story with supernatural/horror elements in it, and a detective mystery is my only way in.

Will this story work?

Lol, I never promise that.

So let’s see how this goes…

****

So I was doing a seance during the middle of the night in a cemetery when a security guard approached me.

“The hell are you doing?” he asked.

“Conjuring the dead. What does it look like?”

“Well hurry up. Gates close in an hour.”

So I cranked up the spirit box and pulled out the Ouija board. I asked the spirit box, “is a Joe Morris present?”

The box scanned through the channels before saying “Beelzebub”. Oh shit, I thought. I probably just cursed myself.

“No no no,” I replied. “JOE Morris.”

The box continued to scan but I was receiving no answers. The Ouija board was no help either. It kept spelling out “anal sex” and “go fuck yourself”. This was getting me nowhere.

I packed everything up and took out my flashlight. Next to Joe Morris’ tombstone was the name “Jezebel Morris”.

Dorthy Morris neglected to tell me that name.

Joe was Dorthy’s father. He was allegedly poisoning in 1952. The autopsy, however, was inconclusive. Dorthy’s been wanting this case solved her entire life. Now, in her twilight years, she lived a reclusive life on her family’s estate while her brain slowly demented away.

In my opinion, Joe died by natural causes. You know how men lived in those days. But I hadn’t had a case in months.

Was it wrong of me to take this elderly lady’s money? Yes.

I immediately left the cemetery and stopped at the Voodoo shop. I had to do something to spurn any demonic curses, ya know? Afterwards I drove to Dorthy’s estate.

I pounded on the door. She was hard of hearing.

“Is that you Lyle?” she asked

“No ma’am. It’s Ty Carson, private detective,” I replied.

I opened the door and found Dorthy with a blanket covering her lap in front of the fireplace. She was playing checkers.

“Who are you playing checkers with?” I asked.

“I’m not playing checkers.”

I quickly moved on to the business at hand. “I did what you asked,” I said. “I went to the cemetery to talk to Joe. I found out that the dead aren’t too keen on talking.”

“But I talked to Joe this morning,” she replied.

I ignored that comment.

“Who’s Jezebel?” I asked.

Dorthy gave me a puzzled look. “Jez has been dead for years,” she said.

“I know. Who was she?”

“No. I can’t betray Joe like that.”

“But she might be key to understanding Joe’s death.”

“No. That matter is closed.”

I shrugged. I figured that I could just go through public records in the morning. As I began to leave, I turned around.

“Oh, by the way,” I said, “the spirit box and Ouija board came to about $150. That will be charged to your account.”

“$5,000 you said?” Dorthy asked as she pulled out her checkbook.

“Yes.”

TO BE CONTINUED

sorry matt 😢

I owe Michael Dillahunty an apology (not that he gives a shit).

When people call into your show regularly and try to deny reality and reasoning, I could see how one would lose their cool. In a discussion, when one person is correct and the other is wrong, when the correct person is an asshole, it does not negate the legitimacy of their claim.

I’ve often said that proof of unambiguous truth does little to change people’s minds. Probably because, and I could be wrong on this, that most of the decisions we make throughout a day are of the aesthetic preference/value kind (good or bad) and not the true/false kind. Nevertheless, where true/false claims are made…which is usually the source of our arguments…either someone is right or both parties are wrong (or both partially correct, or both WHOLLY correct but are lost in semantics).

Which leads me to this question: is it better to be correct and an asshole? Or better to be wrong but nice?

I think the answer is obvious: the former.

Or, in other words, truth trumps all.

Now obviously, truth is difficult to establish. We’re human. We’re finite. That’s why we have to rely on logic, reasoning, evidence, and experimental science to establish such claims. If you want to deny the validity of those methods, you have to use those methods you’re denying, which means you’d corner yourself. Of course, most arguments and disagreements are of the moral/ethical kind.

Morals and ethics are, in all likelihood, a human invention which are subject to change given the historical paradigm. But so what? I’d say that these ethics and the laws and social engagements they promote are VERY necessary for a society…however big or small…to function. And where these ethics fail the needs of a given paradigm, then it’s our moral obligation to challenge them. That’s my general description of morals/ethics that, I think, many would agree on. (If not, then excuse the hell out of me)

So what methods should we use to establish these ethics and morals?

That’s where Dillahunty is unapologetic: it’s humanism. Does humanism have its flaws? I’m sure. But it’s kinda hard to gain the moral upper hand when you’re arguing AGAINST the best interests of all people….or even against SOME people.

So I’ve changed me mind: Matt Dillahunty has every right to be a jerk while he’s arguing for truth and well-being for all of humankind.

Deal.

a quiet life (part iV)

Well I’ll be damned.

It looks like we’re actually getting somewhere. But without a plot, conflict, hero, or villain, the story simply becomes another character study, therefore making the main thrust of the story “man against himself” or some pretentious bullshit like that.

That being said, let’s close this thing out…

***

After returning home from my weekly STD checkup, there was a package on my doorstep. It was addressed to my neighbor, but I took inside and opened it anyway.

In the box was a stuffed teddy bear and a letter from someone named “grandma”. I thought that was a stupid name but continued reading anyway. The letter said:

Dear Mikey,

Grandma and grandpa love you very much. We hope that you feel better soon.

Love,

Grandma and Grandpa

I put the contents back into the box and poured a drink. I was supposed to start taking medication for something called “syphilis” but I threw that shit into the trash.

“Maybe I should return the box,” I thought. But I wasn’t so sure. I lit up a cigarette, shot up heroin, took a bump of coke, played a round of Russian Roulette, then taped up the box.

As I was laying the box on their doorstep, my neighbor opened the door. “Get the fuck off my porch,” he said.

“This is YOUR package asshole!” I replied. “UPS wrongly dropped it off at my house.”

“Why should I believe you?” he asked after he pulled out his .38. “You’ve played your drums, lit off fireworks, and engaged in target practice with your shotgun at ungodly hours of the night. You’ve also ding dong ditched my ass, used my WiFi, and played peeping Tom on my wife. Well guess what PAL! You’re now on MY property and am well within MY right to blast YOUR ass!”

I raised my hands. “Now calm down John,” I said. “We’re both sensible adults. We can talk this out.”

“No,” he replied. “I’M the sensible adult. You’re an asshole.”

John then fired his .38 into my gut and I laid there bleeding out in his front yard. He picked up the package and opened it.

“Well I’ll be a son of a bitch,” he said, “you finally did something right in your life.”

I lifted my head up while holding my guts in. “Please call an ambulance John,” I said.

“Sure, I’ll get right on that.” John then looked up into the sky and smiled. “It’s nice finally getting some peace and quiet around here,” he said.

He went back inside and shut the door.

THE END

your all sheep!

Most people get their opinions from “books”, “news”, “science”, “education”, other “external sources,” and “other people”.

Not me.

You see, I’m an actual FREE thinker.

Everyone keeps telling me “you should stop drinking your piss.” But why? It’s completely natural.

My ex-wife keeps saying “you need to pay child support.” But how do you know he’s my son?

The police keep telling me that I have to “wear pants at the public library.” But I don’t follow the laws of man.

I’m not one of you sheeple.

a quiet life (part iii)

Look, you guys have been clamoring for this.

I don’t want this story to continue. YOU do.

Therefore I am holding you personally responsible for everything I write henceforth.

***

“You can’t use racial slurs in conference calls!” the Human Resource officer told me.

“Susan, stop,” I said, “you know how much you turn me on when you’re angry.”

“I’m afraid that you will be suspended without pay until the Board decides what to do with you,” she responded.

“I’m not racist!” I declared. “I was simply stating what the Papa John’s guy said in HIS racist phone call!”

“You are hereby suspended. Please vacate the premise.”

“Bitch,” I said as I stood up.

I was so upset that I got drunk and drove to a cockfight. As I was placing a bet, my friend Don noticed something was wrong.

“What’s on your mind Bill?” Don asked as we were sharing a crack pipe.

“I don’t know anymore Don,” I said. “I feel like I’m stalling. All I’m doing is filling my time with sex, drugs, and absurd behavior. It’s gotten me nowhere. I don’t ask for much. All I really want is a quiet life. Sounds simple enough but I can’t seem to get out of my own way. I’m lost and the walls are crumbling all around me. Is it possible Don? Is it possible that I am the problem?”

Don took a hit off the pipe and thought for a moment.

“Nah,” he finally said.

“You’re probably right.”

Then we picked up some hookers off skid row.

The ‘atheist experience’ guide to looking like an asshole

People are shocked to hear this when I say it, but I genuinely do NOT care about question of God’s existence.

When I hear people arguing this question, it’s like listening to nerds getting into a heated argument over which fictional spaceship is faster: the Millenium Falcon or the Enterprise D?

It’s a nonsensical argument and I treat nonsense in the only sensical way: I ignore it.

Which leads me the ‘Atheist Experience’.

For the record, I agree with 99.99% with what this asshat, Matt Dillahunty, is saying. His logic holds up. But this is the #1 thing that drives me bonkers about YouTube atheists: logic is fetishized.

I’ll concede: maybe this is a ‘me’ problem. Perhaps I view logic, reasoning, science, and philosophy…and perhaps religion too…as a vehicle, not a destination. That may be too “Buddhist”, for a lack of a better word, way of thinking of these things but it has helped me “keep an eye on the ball” and not get hung up on the small stuff.

I mean, this is the purpose of life, right? To find meaning in a chaotic world? To love life, to enjoy company of others, to pass on our wisdom to the next generation? Life is about the sublime moments. When I’m trying to enjoy my short existence on this earth, I don’t really care what vehicle I drive to get to work.

I’ll always have respect for someone that channels their beliefs in a transformative way….way more than somebody that demands you follow the rules of logic. That being said, some atheists don’t need belief in a higher power to enjoy life to the fullest. I guess I’m one of them (I’m more agnostic. Or, more precisely, apathetic).

Matt Dillahunty is, however, just an asshole.

YouTube atheists aren’t alone in this phenomenon. Everyone is complicit is this internet “dunking” culture, where we try to make our perceived enemies look like idiots. It’s disgusting.

Dillahunty clearly had some bad experience with religion and is bitter because of it. I get it. This happened to me too. I’m sure it happened to all of us. But what are you trying to prove?

I think if the experience of the last few years have showed us anything, it’s that showing facts and logic is totally not persuasive. I mean, it CAN be…over time. But that absolutely cannot be done in a debate style format…especially when one of the participants is being a complete fucking dick.

I’m sure we’ve all been in a position where we find ourselves in a heated political argument where we know that we’re right, and THEY know that you’re right, yet strangely our interlocutor never says “you know, you’re right…you’ve changed my mind.” If this has happened to you then you’re a fucking liar.

There’s something deeply hidden in the human psyche that makes us believe things that are so patently false and absurd, that we just believe them. I think there’s a Latin phrase for it. I’m sure if we interrogate our own beliefs enough, we’ll find one. And when people call bullshit on it, we believe them even harder.

I think a helpful skill to learn, that when you find yourself in a heated argument over religion or politics…and you have your opponent on the ropes…make sure the joke’s on you. Don’t be so far up your own ass that you can’t make fun of yourself. In that case, you might’ve won the debate but you lost the war.

People’s minds don’t change over night.

What Dillahunty did was take his bad experience and project it onto ‘Brandon’. Now Brandon probably believes whatever nonsense he believes in that much harder. Nothing got solved.

Besides, what is an “Atheist Experience’?

Isn’t that just ‘Experience’?

a quiet life (part II)

Guys, I don’t know.

I’m beginning to think we need a villain, a hero, and a plot to make a good story.

But we’ll see where this goes…

***

So my Audi was doing 95 through a school zone when I went around a flashing red bus. An officer pulled me over.

“License and registration please.”

“Sorry Officer, I’m driving on a suspended license due to numerous DUI arrests,” I said. “Also, this vehicle is registered to my ex-wife. I stole it from her because she accused me of domestic abuse.”

“Well slow down,” he replied. And I was on my merry way.

When I pulled into the driveway, my neighbor was waiting on me. “Don’t ever pull a gun on my husband again!” she yelled.

“Bitch! This is America!” I replied. Then I fired an entire clip into the air.

Later that night, my girlfriend gave me oral. When she asked me to return the favor, I said, “Heh, no thanks. I gotta kiss my mother with this mouth.”

Then I went to sleep.

TO BE CONTINUED

a quiet life (part I)

Is it possible to write a story that lacks conflict, heroes, or villains?

Let’s find out

****

My guts were boiling.

I climbed out of bed, dropped my pants, and evacuated my bowels. It was a good shit.

Afterwards, I shaved my balls. And ass. I climbed in the shower and measured my penis: 3.5 inches soft, 5in hard (5 1/4in from the taint).

I shoved some eggs and toast down my throat and grabbed a coffee. As I was walking out to the driveway, my neighbor confronted me.

“If you blast your radio at 2am again, I am calling the cops!” he said.

I pulled out my Glock. “Look buddy,” I replied, “you’re on my property. That means I have the right to unleash holy hell right into your skull. So don’t fuck with me!”

Then I got into my car and turned up the radio. I bounced up and down all the way to work to the sound of ‘Big Fat Funky Booty’ by the Spin Doctors on repeat.

When I arrived, I walked into the office. “Hey baby,” I said to the receptionist, “when are you gonna give me a shot at those titties?”

“I’ve already reported you to Human Resources,” she replied. “Please don’t speak to me.”

“You don’t have to be such a bitch, sweetheart,” I said.

I went to my desk and pulled out a bottle of scotch. “A little early in the morning for that, isn’t it Bill?” my boss asked.

“You know I’m never sober before 8am, Dick,” I replied.

“Damn it Bill! I should fire you but you always do your best work drunk.”

“Thanks Dick. Say, when am I getting that raise?”

“Once when we get those lawsuits settled from all the faulty products you designed, you’ll get a 20% raise.”

“Fuckin snowflakes,” I said. “A little cancer never hurt anyone.”

“I think the judge will agree,” Dick replied. “He should. We paid him enough money.”

“Thanks Dick. You’re the best.”

Dick went back to his office and I pulled up porn on my work computer. It was a productive day.

TO BE CONTINUED

‘The Secret Gospel of Mark’: The Art of BS

I’m old and my mind is going. Too much drugs, too much useless information clouds my brain. Which is why a lot of common knowledge straight up misses me.

As you are aware, I’m a nerd for New Testament/Early Christian history. Am I a Christian or a religious person? Not really, but I don’t understand the question enough to give a definitive answer (remember, my mind is going). I simply obsess over 1st Century Christianity because, as Bart Ehrman asserts, it might just be the most important era in Western History (I disagree. I think it’s the second most).

Unfortunately, there’s just not enough concrete information to definitely say what happened during Jesus’s real life ministry. Of course, speculating is part of the fun, but it’s also a curse. Because there’s so many gaps in the timeline, this invites a multitude of con artists and conspiracy mongers to perpetuate fabricated stories.

Which brings me to the “Secret Gospel of Mark”.

The actual Gospel of Mark, the one we have in the New Testament, is quietly the most important text in Western thought. I say this because the Gospels are certainly more widely read than something like Plato’s Republic, and Mark is the Gospel that Matthew and Luke based much of their texts on (the other source they both used, the hypothetical Q source, I would argue the author of Mark was familiar with as there are too many similarities…which would make Q the most important text. But Q remains hypothetical). Mark is therefore the oldest surviving account of Jesus’s life (the oldest surviving Christian writings, however, are the seven verified Epistles of Paul, with 1st Thessalonians being the oldest).

Now, there are A LOT of questions for Mark. Too many to recount here. It is the barest of the four canonical Gospels with plenty of peculiarities.

But what if someone credentialed allegedly came across evidence to fill in these gaps?

Enter Morton Smith, a Ph.D from Hebrew University and Th.D from Harvard Divinity, and professor of ancient history at Columbia University. Pretty impressive right?

I was made aware of this story when reading Ehrman’s Lost Christianities. I’ve never heard it before and I was shocked at my ignorance. Now Ehrman is probably the leading academic in the field of Early Christianity, and even he doesn’t quite know what to make of this story.

Briefly, Smith claimed to have found a lost letter from Clement of Alexandria, an early Christian theologian, which describes a variant of the Gospel of Mark and even provides a couple of passages. And boy oh boy! What passages they were!

The problem is that, allegedly, this lost letter was transcribed in the 18th Century, and Smith couldn’t provide the copy because it was property of a monastery in Jerusalem. He DID, however, provide photographs of the letter and scholars have determined that these writings were indeed in the style of Clement and Mark (and the handwriting was also of 18th Century style).

Additionally, Ehrman recalls a story of hearing another academic claiming to have seen the letter himself, despite the library still refusing to permit research into it. So, it’s safe to say that this letter genuinely existed.

Whether or not it was written in the 18th Century is a different story.

You see, because if there was one person on this planet that could have forged that document…well enough to fool many academics…Morton Smith was that man. And, apparently, he had a motive to do so (see Ehrman’s Lost Christianities).

For the record, I think the letter is a total, unambiguous forgery. Too good to be true+motive+means=bullshit. But I gotta tip my hat to Smith.

Every bullshit artist knows that eventually they’ll get caught in the lie. But the trick is to leave a shred of doubt. And Morton Smith either made the discovery of the millennium, or the greatest forgery of all time.