“Jesus’s Wife” Hoax: The Plot Thickens

Kudos to LiveScience for doing an actual investigation into the provenance claims of the so-called "Gospel of Jesus's Wife." The results are fascinating. Karen King initially put the document forward as a copy of a 2nd century lost "gospel" before retreating, in the face of inconclusive testing, to the possibility of it being an 8th or 9th century text. Evidence for it being a plain ole forgery remains pretty strong, however, and it just got stronger. Harvard and King refuse to identify … [Read More...]


The Canonizations of John XXIII and John Paul II: The Opposition

Two diametrically opposed complaints about the upcoming canonizations of two beloved popes landed in my news feed within minutes of each other. That each comes from radically different camps--modernist and anti-modernist--shows that the fringes are almost always united in their wrongness, if divided in their reasoning. First up is this blast of badly-argued nonsense from USA Today (with the extremely silly headline "Pope puts Catholic rebirth at risk") by a writer, Brett M. Decker, who … [Read More...]


Happy Earth Day! Or Not.

Happy Earth Day! Here's a picture of Holly Maddux, murdered and stuffed in a trunk by one of the founders of Earth Day: Keep a few extra lights burning in memory of her. Fun fact: the date of Earth Day (April 22nd) was chosen to coincide with birthday of another psychopath: Vladimir Lenin. But let's not assume it's some kind of commie memorial or anything like that. Next up: maybe we can talk about the kidnapper and torturer who invented Kwanzaa. You can usually tell a … [Read More...]


Comments Will Remain Off For the Foreseeable Future

Like several of my fellow mackerel snappers here on Patheos I turned off comboxes so I didn't have to deal with trolls and such during Lent. And I decided I liked it so much that I'm going to keep them off for a while. My apologies to those regular commenting folk who always add something interesting. Most of you already get in touch with me via Facebook and Twitter, so we still have that. I hope you all had a blessed Easter filled with God and chocolate. As St. Teresa of Avila is alleged … [Read More...]


Reinventing the Bike, and Making it Worse

This thing is called the Fliz, and it's all kinds of wrong. It's a sorta-bike, but not really. Rather than pedaling, you kind of scoot along. And instead of sitting on it, you sort of hang from it, with part of the frame encircling your neck (!), and straps under your groin (!!). Because whenever I think of new technology and progress in the area of personal transportation, I imagine crotch trauma, almost-certain spinal injury, poor line of sight, and looking like a complete twit all in … [Read More...]


Giant Jenga!

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When Spider-Man Worked for Planned Parenthood

Yes, this really happened. Retronaut has found a special issue of Spiderman done in a collaboration between Marvel and Planned Parenthood. The art is by Marvel vets Ross Andru and Mike Esposito, but the writing is by Ann Robinson, who had a brief tenure as a Marvel executive, and no other known writing credits, for reasons that will be obvious. The plot--and oh how I wish I was making this up--is about an alien called The Prodigy from the planet Intellectia. His voice can persuade people to … [Read More...]


The Judas Tree, And Other Legends of the Betrayer

This is cercis siliquastrum, the Judas Tree:   It is, according to legend, the type of tree from which Judas hanged himself, and its once-white blossoms blushed with shame to be part of such a terrible history. Or perhaps it's called the Judas Tree because the clusters of blossoms sometimes hang from the branches, suggesting a hanging man. Or maybe it's all just a mistake: its French name--"Tree of Judea"--misunderstood as "Tree of Judas." Legend is funny that way. Today, the … [Read More...]


Kids React to a Walkman

I was asked to show a section of a movie to some students last week. When I got there it was on VHS. Finding the exact spot was a reminder of all the things I don't miss. Keep an eye on little 8-year-old Samirah here. She's a smart one. … [Read More...]


Sound Cannons to Be Fired at Drivers

LRAD stands for Long Range Acoustic Device, and it's a kind of sonic weapon created for breaking up large protests and hailing people at extreme distances. And now it's going to be fired at motorists driving at high speeds through construction zones. Missouri's Department of Transportation is going to give the device to road workers to warn speeding motors to slow down: The device emits a targeted, deafening siren that "easily penetrates the windshield and well-insulated cab of a car, … [Read More...]


A True Story About “Jesus’s Wife”

I went into our Religious Education office this morning and was reminded that I have a lot of work ahead of me. It seems as though Little Bart (not his real name) came home from his Religious Formation Class and told mommy that Jesus was married. Because that's what a teacher in our program told his class. Jesus probably even had kids. Yeah, she said that too. Why would she say something so profoundly, mind-crackingly stupid? Our program's teachers have the highest rate of … [Read More...]


“Jesus’s Wife”: Still Fake

More than 18 months after the mainstream media splashed front pages with credulous headlines about a "new" "gospel" "proving" "Jesus" had a "wife" (and I've used up my allotment of scare quotes just writing that much), we finally have the results of testing on the age of the papyrus, and the results are ... meaningless, just like this entire story. My very first reaction to this document was that if it was authentic, it was just more from the Gnostic Noise Machine. Some of King's colleagues … [Read More...]


The Unabomber’s Delusional Offspring

Anarchist/anti-tech protesters have targeted the home and neighborhood of tech entrepreneur Kevin Rose, founder of Digg and partner in Google Ventures. After a late night of howling at the moon, these feral lunatics dug into their bag of Soviet-era propaganda, leafleted his neighborhood, and unfurled banners outside of Rose's San Francisco home declaring him a "parasite" and threatening to "snip" his "b***z." (This last was presumably inspired by a bizarre and tasteless attempt at humor by Rose … [Read More...]


St. Francis on Kickstarter

A group of monks is using Kickstarter to raise money for the restoration of a cell where St. Francis stayed four times from 1209 and 1223, when he traveled to Rome to get recognition for his new order from Pope Innocent III. The location is the church of San Francesco a Ripa in the Trastevere district, and although it's more famous for its Bernini sculpture, the monks know that the real treasure is the cell where St. Francis stayed. The cells needs extensive work, as the Kickstarter page … [Read More...]


John XXIII and the Jews

One of the better parts about being a writer is that you get learn things for a living. For example, when Carl Olson asked me to cover a lecture on Pope John XXIII and the Jews for Catholic World Report, I had only a fairly general image of Pope John. I thought he was a genial and humble man, a skilled diplomat, and a fine leader. I liked all that I'd read by him, but until Rabbi David G. Dalin explained the extent and nature of his work on behalf of the Jews during World War II, I never thought … [Read More...]