Things I learned reading The Economist this week

  • If you invest $100,000 in the island nation of Saint Lucia, they’ll make you a citizen.
  • South Africa has an unemployment rate of 26%.
  • Bernard Henri-Levy has been performing a one-man show about Brexit at Cadogan Hall in Chelsea.

Pattern

The wind moves the arms of this plant back and forth and it sweeps this pattern on the sand.  


Did Jesus have a brother?

My take?  Yes!  Definitely, sounds like he had some sisters too!

This isn’t that hard.  Mark 6:

Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples.When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed.

“Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph,[a] Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.

Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.

We’ve been talking about Mark, and how the evidence is compelling that it is probably the oldest record we have of a guy who lived and taught sometime around years now marked 1-30 AD named Jesus.

Mark says that guy had brothers and sisters.

So do all the other Gospel writers!  Matthew, 13:55-56.  Luke, 8:19.  They all got him having brothers. I’m not even gonna get into it with the sisters.  John’s pretty straightforward about it too. 

The Greek word used is (I’m told) adelphos.

In Paul’s Letters, written sometime after this Jesus was executed, he mentions Jesus’ brother.

In a number of other early Christian sources, there are discussions of Jesus’ brothers.

Why is it a problem that Jesus had brothers, maybe sisters too?

It’s not.

Unless having brothers and sisters like a human of his time screws up what you think you’re supposed to believe about Jesus God status.

The Catholic and Orthodox churches are determined to insist that Mary was a perpetual virgin who never had sex.

Why?

That seems twisted and conjured up out of nowhere.  When I hear that I’m like ok I think maybe you guys are a little weird about sex.

You can ponder and explore for yourself why the theologians cooked up that one.  I’m sure there’s whole shelves in the Catholic libraries about it.  It matters enough that you find scholars twisting themselves into pretzels about the meanings of different words for brother in 1st century Greek and Aramaic.

But hey, maybe they really were his cousins!

Who cares?

Well, if you are trying to get back to primary sources about a historical Jesus, and what that guy actually said, and what he was like, and possible brothers, or cousins so close they used the same word to describe them, that’s something.

Of the brothers, James comes up the most in early Christian history.  What this James believed Jesus was up to is too big a question for us today.

What I can tell you about James’ views is that he and Paul did not see eye to eye.

Interesting to me, because it suggests you could be a Jesusist without being a Paulist.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions cites Romans 13.

Check out The Brick Bible.( I hope Elbe Spurling doesn’t mind me using this screenshot)

Jesus, it’s easy to forget, was arrested and executed for causing trouble for the authorities.

Discussion question for brunch:

Which characters in the New Testament remind you most of the Attorney General and the President?  Do you like those characters?

Have a joyful Sunday everyone!  (We welcome your letters btw!  I know we got some Bible scholars out there who can school me!)

 


Sir Garfield Sobers, by Mighty Sparrow

Two cool names.  From the 1966 album This Is Sparrow.

Context:


Michelle Wolf, Peter Schweitzer, and DC/media as pro wrestling

Michelle Wolf says that in this Vulture profile by Amy Larocca.

A very similar complaint voiced by Clinton Cash author Peter Schweitzer in the Devil’s Bargain book about Trump and Bannon:


Pull it, switch it, top it

INTERVIEWER

But there are devices one can use to set up a story, aren’t there? Such as the love rack, or the algebraic analysis of a story.

CAIN

Devices, yes. Like the old switcheroo. I used quite a few in my book called Past All Dishonor. It’s about Virginia City in the Civil War days of the big whorehouses. It’s about a boy who fell for a girl who worked in a house. Every guy in town could have her for ten bucks except him, and the reason was that she half-loved him. This was a very nice situation, and I was able to do something with it. I was able to top it, and that’s always what you try to do when you have a situation: You pull it, you switch it, you top it, which is the old Hollywood formula for a running gag.

James M. Cain in the Paris Review.

INTERVIEWER

Do you have any memory of the origins of The Postman Always Rings Twice?

CAIN

Oh yes, I can remember the beginning of The Postman. It was based on the Snyder-Gray case, which was in the papers about then. You ever hear of it? Well, Grey and this woman Snyder killed her husband for the insurance money. Walter Lippmann went to that trial one day and she brushed by him, what was her name? Lee Snyder.* Walter said it seemed very odd to be inhaling the perfume or being brushed by the dress of a woman he knew was going to be electrocuted. So the Snyder-Grey case provided the basis. The big influence in how I wrote The Postman Always Rings Twice was this strange guy, Vincent Lawrence, who had more effect on my writing than anyone else. He had a device which he thought was so important—the “love rack” he called it. I have never yet, as I sit here, figured out how this goddamn rack was spelled . . . whether it was wrack, or rack, or what dictionary connection could be found between the word and his concept. What he meant by the “love rack” was the poetic situation whereby the audience felt the love between the characters. He called this the “one, the two and the three.” Someone, I think it was Phil Goodman, the producer and another great influence, once reminded him that this one, two, and three was nothing more than Aristotle’s beginning, middle, and end. “Okay, Goody,” Lawrence said, “who the hell was Aristotle, and who did he lick?” I always thought that was the perfect Philistinism.

INTERVIEWER

How did it work?

CAIN

Lawrence would explain what he meant with an illustration, say a picture like Susan Lenox, where Garbo was an ill-abused Swedish farm girl who jumped into a wagon and brought the whip down over the horses and went galloping away and ended up in front of this farmhouse which Clark Gable, who was an engineer, had rented. And he takes her in. He’s very honorable with her, doesn’t do anything, gives her a place to sleep, puts her horses away and feeds them . . . He didn’t have any horses himself, but he did have two dozen ears of corn to feed hers. Well, the next day he takes the day off and the two of them go fishing. He’s still very honorable, and she’s very self-conscious and standoffish. She reels in a fish (they used a live fish—must have had it in a bucket). She says, I’ll cook him for your supper. And with that she gave herself away; his arms went around her. This fish, this live fish, was what Lawrence meant by a “love rack”; the audience suddenly felt what the characters felt. Before Lawrence got to Hollywood, they had simpler effects, created by what was called the mixmaster system. You know, he’d look at her through the forest window, looking over the lilies, and this was thought to be the way to do it; then they’d go down to the amusement park together and go through the what do you call it? Shoot de chute?

 


Perspective on Bitcoin

Eric Guinthier put this on Wikipedia.

was thinking about this as I tried to remember some login or another: there’s no way in Hell all these numbnutses are gonna remember all their blockchain passwords and cryptokeys and what have you.  The panicked runs on cryptocurrencies are gonna be crazy.

Maybe I should start a dump or an ewaste junkyard, eight bucks to throw away your old hard drive, and wait around for some panicked nerd to come screaming that he threw away seventeen million dollars in unharvested Ripple or whatnot.

that picture above is of Yap stone money.  When someone tries to explain the history of money, sooner or later they’ll mention the stone money of Yap, usually avoiding an opinion on whether or not using enormous stone wheels as money is completely ridiculous.

Because these stones are too large to move, buying an item with one simply involves agreeing that the ownership has changed. As long as the transaction is recorded in the oral history, it will now be owned by the person it is passed on to and no physical movement of the stone is required.[citation needed]

(lol at citation needed.  God bless Wikipedia.  You try and write up Yap money in your spare time and someone comes along demanding footnotes).

Beades on Wikipedia took this picture of a rai stone at the Bank of Canada Currency Museum in Ottawa. How much do you think they paid for it?