according to Simon (part iii)

“What happened to your face?” Jacob asked as I met him at the Cyrene’s inn.

“I was attacked by one of Herod’s thugs,” I said. “They’re onto us. So watch who you talk to.”

“You didn’t tell him anything did you?”

“I told him I was a friend of Joseph’s. After that, he left me alone.”

“Shit,” Jacob said and rubbed his face. “Well good news is I met with Ananias and his wife Sapphira. Remember them?”

“The one’s from Rome?”

“Yeah. They sold some of their property in Judea. They gave the money to John to distribute to the widows outside of the city walls. It’s finally happening Simon!”

“Don’t let it get to your head!” I told him. “You still need to lie low.”

Just then a big burly fellow with six other men busted through the door. “Χαιρετίσματα Jacob,” the booming voice said.

“Hello Stephanos.”

“You’re Stephanos?!” I exclaimed.

Stephanos looked over to me and back over to Jacob. “Who’s dis?” the man asked in his Greek accent.

“Relax, he’s Simon,” Jacob replied. “He was a good friend of Yeshua’s.”

Stephanos looked me up and down. “I heard you were arrested,” he said to me.

“No, it must have been another Simon,” I replied. “I’m from Bethsaida.”

Stephanos was confused. He looked back to Jacob. “I was told that Ananias gave you money. Our women and children are starving too-“

“Now Stephanos,” Jacob interrupted, “I know where you’re going with this. But Ananias was very clear: he wanted us to use this money to help the widows of Jerusalem.”

“Because we’re Greeks we’re not as important as the Hebrews?”

“I didn’t say that. Please listen to me. I’m only respecting Ananias’ wishes.”

Stephanos was furious. “We’ve been in the streets for days while you Hebrews have been coward up in your homes! Do you support us or not?!”

“Of course I support you!” Jacob yelled then took a deep breath. “I get how you feel, Stephanos, I really do. But you gotta understand our situation. Herod and Pilate aren’t too concerned with the Greeks right now. But they are after us. We can’t be out in the streets and we don’t have the money to spread around to everyone. I’m sorry. But Ananias is a very successful man from Rome and a diaspora Jew just like yourself. If you go to him and explain your situation, he can probably provide you with some assistance.”

Stephanos stood silent for a moment then muttered something in Greek. He walked up to Jacob. “μη με σταυρώνεις,” he said. Then him and his six men left the room.

“You should’ve stayed away from him Jacob,” I said.

“I know.”

“And Stephanos is a convert. To Ananias, he’s still a Gentile. He’s not giving him the money.”

Jacob began rubbing his temples. “I need a drink,” he said.

We went down to the tavern where Levi was scribbling something down. “What are you doing?” Jacob asked him.

“The Greeks wanted something to tell the people back in the Decapolis. Something about Yeshua.”

I looked over the writing. He didn’t write much but it was all in Greek. I couldn’t understand a word of it. Jacob was puzzled. “Where did you learn to write Greek?”

“In school, here in Jerusalem” Levi replied, “I had to learn it along with Hebrew.”

“Maybe we should drop the subject of Greeks for the time being,” I said.

We sat silently drinking our wine for a few minutes. There was a commotion on the streets. Andrew came running up. “They’re about to stone some of the Greeks!” he screamed.

Jacob and Levi instantly got up. “Aren’t you coming along?” Jacob asked me. Against my better judgment, I put down the wine cup and followed them.

A few blocks away, a crowd was gathering. Some were shouting. Others gawked out of morbid curiosity. Moments later, Temple guards began dragging out seven Greeks. One of them was Stephanos.

Behind them followed a few members of the Sanhedrin, including Joseph. Standing beside him was Ananias.

“Thief! Thief!” Ananias shouted. “These men conspired with Yeshua to rob the Temple and overthrow the Romans!”

My heart began to sink. This was a setup.

The guards threw the Greeks in front of Herod’s black-cloaked mercenaries who had their spears ready. Meanwhile, the Roman guards stood back smiling at the whole affair.

A judge from the Sanhedrin stood among the crowd and faced the accused. “Conspiracy, sedition, robbery of Ananias,” the judge said, “are these accusations true?”

It didn’t matter what Stephanos said. And he knew it. From his knees, he laughed and looked at the crowd. “You stiff-necked people,” he said, “your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him—”

“God help you,” the judge said.

With those words, the mercenaries plunged their spears into the bellies of the Greeks. A pool of blood formed in the middle of the crowd.

Levi screamed in horror and ran away.

But the crowd was just getting warmed up. They picked up stones or any disposable object and began hurling them towards Stephanos. He got bruised and battered and knocked in the head a few times but kept crawling forward.

Among the mercenaries, I recognized a familiar face: The scars….the scabs…the wiry frame. It was him alright. It was the man that attacked me a few days earlier.

And Stephanos kept crawling towards this man as the stones were raining down on him. When he reached his feet, Stephanos grabbed the man’s cloak and got to his knees.

I was too far away to hear anything, but Stephanos was clearly saying something to this man. Judging by his face, the figure was stunned by what was being said. But before the figure could react, a member of the crowd smashed a rock into Stephanos’ skull.

The man in the black cloak stood back with blood and brain matter splattered all over his face. He was in a daze.

Before the crowd could mutilate the bodies, Joseph stepped in to quiet them. That’s enough!” he yelled. “The perpetrators of the Passover sedition have been caught and punished! This matter is closed! Please return to your homes!” As the crowds dispersed, the Temple guards started dragging the bodies outside of the city walls.

Jacob and I returned to the inn in silence. We didn’t know what to make of what just happened. “Do we leave Jerusalem?” Jacob asked.

“Why?” I replied. “It looks like Joseph and Ananias took care of our problem.”

TO BE CONTINUED…

2051: a space monstrosity (part vii)

“It is the King’s wish that your three female crew members join his harem. In exchange, we will grant you land rights on Ishnar, allowing you to remain here permanently,” Hazov declared to me in front of the Royal Council.

“What if they deny the King’s wish?” I retorted.

“Then you and your crew will be asked to leave.”

“Hazov, I can’t make them do anything. Those three crew members are distinguished women in their own right. I do not own them.”

“Those are the conditions on which you may stay on Ishnar.”

“Unacceptable,” I said, “I am responsible for the safety and well-being of my crew. Under no conditions would they submit to this demand.”

Hazov then whispered to one of the advisers. They convened privately for a few moments. “Alright,” Hazov finally spoke up, “then the King will accept one of your female officers for his harem: Commander Mwangi.”

I tried to hide the anger boiling beneath. “Under Space Fleet guidelines,” I responded, “we are ordered to respect the customs of extraterrestrial cultures. But I cannot submit my crew these demands, not without discussing it with them first. Please allow me to return to the Sagan where I will meet with my crew.”

“Of course, Captain.”

I was bluffing. I knew the crew wouldn’t agree to these terms but I needed time to find other options.

When I returned to the Sagan, Dr. Jackass pulled me aside. “Valdez is indeed pregnant,” he said, “we ran a DNA test and the father is Smashhouse. Yah was correct.”

“Fuck me running!” I replied.

***

I went underground to meet with Yah again. The guards refused to let me through. “Look,” I told one of them, “Hazov has granted me unrestricted access to Yah.”

“We need an explanation for your visit,” the guard said.

“I just need to go over with Yah the court proceedings on Earth should he stand trial,” I replied. “That’s all.”

“I need to confirm this with Hazov.”

“Don’t waste your time, Hazov’s time, and my time. You’re being ridiculous.”

We had a stare down for a few moments before he let me through. Another guard escorted me to Yah’s chamber.

“Can we have some privacy please?” I asked the guard. When he was out of earshot, Yah spoke up.

“I knew you’d be back,” he said.

“Of course you did.”

“We got off on the wrong foot Captain. But I can help you with your problem.”

“What is my problem?”

“Your ship doesn’t work and you can’t stay on Ishnar.”

“So? Maybe I can find another corner of this planet for my crew to live on.”

“The King of Ishnar rules this entire planet. If he ever found you and your crew, he would kill all of you. Face it: the customs of Ishnar is incompatible with Earth’s. You know this to be true.”

“How can you help me then? Can you fix thrusters, hydrogen drives, and hibernation chambers?”

“Through me, all things are possible.”

“Do you agree to do this?”

“You have my word, Captain.”

“What about Earth? It’s gone. Can you help us rebuild the planet?”

“I’ve only ever wanted what’s best for humanity.”

“Okay then. If you go back on your word, I will not hesitate to eject you into outer space where you’ll spend eternity in your chamber.”

“My powers are limited in this chamber. The only way I can repair your ship is if you release me from it.”

Son of a bitch, he was right. I knew he was right. And he knew that I knew he was right. We were playing each other. I had to make a choice.

I called the guard over. “Bring Yah’s chamber to the surface,” I ordered. “We’re bringing him back to Earth.”

TO BE CONTINUED…

hi I’m glen greenwalled. AMA

Who questions the questioners?

***

It has been absolute Christmas for me the last few days. My blog’s existence has been vindicated by the conflict in Ukraine and the state of journalism reporting on it.

The internet really has ruined everything…especially the Twitterification of political discourse.

Case in point is Glenn Greenwald, sometimes referred to as the “GOAT” of journalism, who is now having an total fucking meltdown on Twitter.

Monitoring this situation, it has occurred to me that people can’t handle that multiple things can be true at once.

No, Greenwald is not a “Putin agent”. Yes, “propaganda” is bad, especially when it’s used to drum up war. And yes…Russia, led by an autocrat, invaded a sovereign country and no matter how terrible propaganda and American foreign policy has been, it doesn’t change the fact that….Russia, led by an autocrat, invaded a sovereign country.

I’m always hesitant to say that the “media lies to you”. It’s more complicated than that. What they’re actually doing is spin doctoring, omitting facts, and failing to interrogate all available information and opinions (but I guess in a certain sense, that is lying).

That’s why it’s up to YOU, fellow reader, to be honest enough with yourself to interrogate all available facts. That’s all we’ve got for the time being.

Because there is no trustworthy journalist or media figure. They’re all cynical actors until proven otherwise…especially the ones that have prior ideological convictions (what they are specifically for Greenwald, idk. But they’re easy to infer: has close associations with Noam Chomsky, his husband is a Socialist politician in Brazil, etc) and simultaneously criticize Big Tech yet profit off of it (via Substack, Twitter, etc)

But if you’re a Greenwald defender, relax: “iM jUSt aSkiNg QuEsTIons”

I’m gonna leave a link to these two articles here. Maybe they’re old. Maybe they’re outdated. Maybe they’re inaccurate. You be the judge.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/is-glenn-greenwald-the-new-master-of-right-wing-media

https://www.forbes.com/sites/maxrobins/2013/10/22/billionaires-want-to-pay-millions-for-journalists-who-make-trouble/?sh=68b3b4306e51

pennies 4 the dead (part II)

I couldn’t shake the feeling of being followed.

I had a hunch that it was the repo man coming to take the Geo Metro. I pulled out my .38 and shouted into the dark. “I have your filthy money!” I yelled. “Show yourself!”

Out of the shadows, I heard a thick Boston accent: “Are you Mista Cahson?” it asked.

“What’s it to ya PAL?!”

The figure stepped forth slowly from the shadows. He was tossing a baseball into the air.

“I’m Mista Pete Morris,” the figure said. “I’m son of Dorthy Morris, your client. I understand that you’ve been taking my mutha’s money.”

“She’s been giving it to me in larger amounts than I’ve been asking. That’s hardly stealing,” I replied.

“Hey ohhh, buddy! I ain’t said nuthin about stealing.”

“Then you better make your point. I have a .38 aiming between your eyeballs.”

Pete straightened up his jacket and began stammering nervously. “All I’m asking is that you let me in on the cut,” he said.

“I don’t think so,” I replied. “I work better alone. Besides, fuck the Red Sox.”

“I’m tellin ya,” Pete said, “there’s somethin goin on with Dorthy.”

“Yeah, it’s called dementia.”

“No. There’s something else goin on up there at that estate. Something that can’t be explained, not of this world. Some things just can’t be stopped by bullets, ya know?”

Pete then tossed the baseball again and I shot it out of the air.

“I haven’t found one yet,” I said.

“Look, I have all the answers you’re looking for,” Pete continued. “The death of Joe Morris is deeper than you think.”

I put the gun back into my holster. “Buddy,” I said, “if you’re trying to grift your rich elderly mother out of her money, you’re gonna have to find another angle.”

As I turned around to finish my walk home, Pete spoke up again. “I know about Jezebel,” he said.

“So do I pal,” I said as I continued walking, “she was Dorthy’s sister who died of pneumonia a year before Joe’s death. She was 20 years old.”

“That’s not the whole story,” Pete replied, “in fact, she wasn’t Dorthy’s sister.”

I stopped, turned around, and pulled out a cigarette. “Alright bucko,” I said, “now you’ve got my attention.”

TO BE CONTINUED

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

‘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.

😀 Hate mail! 👍

I never thought anyone would take my shit posting seriously enough to write out an entire comment longer than the initial post itself. But I forget, “the internet ruined everything”.

Btw, this comment was made on my “your damn right ignorance is bliss!” post.

I don’t know if this person was real or some bot trying to spread some article around (about COVID, a subject that I don’t recall discussing on this blog), but my response was “the post was a joke”.

But then I got to thinking: was I joking?

Sure, the intent was to post some stupid thought that crossed my mind. But the more I think about it: hell yeah an existence void of desire and knowledge of good and evil sounds pretty damn good!

Of course, that’s not how my hater saw it. He/she thought I was embracing “keeping the masses ignorant”, or “listening to establishment propaganda”, or blah blah blah.

I get it. I got lost down that road of political ideology too. I’ve spent all of 2021 trying to get over it. That’s why I created this blog for fuck’s sake.

But there is no truth in ideology. That’s why it’s ideology. We have to form these ideologies. You know why? Because the truth is too terrifying to handle.

That’s why I always thought that Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, the shit in The Matrix, “the truth shall set you free”, etc. kinda miss the point. To get the gist of what I’m trying to say, Slavoj Zizek, whatever you think about him, once said about the shitty film The Joker (paraphrase): “it’s through the mask that we can be our true selves.”

Because there is nothing underneath the mask.

So you want the truth?

Here it is:

The “establishment”, however you want to define that, doesn’t give a shit about you. They don’t even give enough of a shit to form a conspiracy to fuck with you. They don’t think about you. They don’t fear you.

You are nothing.

You were born from standard biological processes and one day you will return to nothing. Most people you know do not think about you. When you die, only 3 or 4 people will truly mourn for you. After a few weeks, you will be forgotten.

This has been the story of billions of people throughout history. Statistically speaking, you will be totally, utterly forgotten.

Beyond this life lies nothing.

So in this life, there is absolutely nothing stopping you from doing the most heinous crime you can think of. Absolutely nothing. You can do it right now.

So what are you gonna do with that freedom?

You think there’s someone pulling the strings? Well guess what buddy, it’s worse than that: NO ONE’S pulling the strings.

The universe is just there. It’s infinite. YOU’RE NOT. You will never make sense of it.

I hope everyone reading laughs at this, because that’s the only sane response.

So now you can understand why I want to be “ignorant”. We should admire the Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Hindus, etc etc. Hell, I’ll even admire Conservatives, libs, leftists, rightists, libertarians, etc. At least they believe something.

There nothing wrong with sublimating our beliefs and desires into ideologies, but, taking from Sigmund Freud, the aim of this life should be to “sublimate well”.

Anyways, gotta go. Left my wallet at Hardee’s. Bye ✋