Sore Points

This evening being a Friday in Lent, we had fish for dinner. In the United States, this is usually thought of as a Roman Catholic practice. But I am not a member of the Roman Catholic Church. So why did we do so? Why do Catholics do so?

Through my life, when this question has arisen, I have often heard someone answer thus:

Did you know the only reason you’re not supposed to eat meat on fridays is because way back when the popes brother ran the fish market.. they did it to boost sales and they still do today. Catholic Church is bullshit #Catholic #jesus #qanon


You think the reason Catholics can only eat fish on fridays is because one of the popes invested in the fish market and it was doing poorly so he made a rule that Catholics can only eat fish so that his stock would go up?

Those were the two things that came up first on a Twitter search for “popes fish friday.” Is this an accurate picture of the origins of Christian fasting?

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Saw on Twitter:

If you want to find the history and book nerds in a room, just say, “It’s a shame about the Library at Alexandria.” The noises of anguish that erupt will ALWAYS give them away.

To be honest, on those occasions, I do make noises of anguish, but for reasons opposite to what most folks imagine them to be.

I once intended to write an essay about the truth of the loss of the Great Library, but then Tim O’Neill went and did so. I heartily urge all readers to peruse O’Neill’s work, and be relieved of the idea that there is anything enlightened about being upset about the Library.

OPEC has not had effective pricing power for well over thirty years.

OPEC only had control over world oil prices between 1973 and some unspecifiable point in the early 80s, and only because prices were generally rising then anyway.
During the 70s, the price of oil shot through the roof. Many trembled in awe before the power of OPEC. However, while OPEC was being so powerful, investment in oil exploration and production cranked into high gear. Over time, this resulted in greatly enhanced world oil production. In 1982, a worldwide recession caused demand for, and the price of, oil to go into the basement. Even after the economy recovered, oil prices did not, and, with the exception of an anomalous spike in 1990 due to the First Gulf War, they stayed in that basement until the turn of the century.

OPEC couldn’t do jack squat about low oil prices. The members would meet and set restricted quotas, trying to prod the market. Then they would all go home and cheat on those quotas. They had to; most of them had nothing else to drive their economies. This is problem with cabals.

In 1998, after the Asian financial crisis cut demand, oil was going for $12 a barrel.

(Not coincidentally, those years saw America fall in love with SUVs.)

Since 2000, we’ve had a dramatic price rise caused by production declines meeting growing demand. Which meant…investment in exploration & production cranked into high gear! Leading to our current price sink. It’s a cycle. And OPEC can’t do jack squat about it.

Jesus did not have an Immaculate Conception. Jesus had a Virgin Birth. Do not refer to the Immaculate Conception of Jesus.

The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception refers to the birth of Mary. It is the idea that while Mary was conceived in the normal fashion, through sexual intercourse, God shielded her from the inheritance of Original Sin. The effect was purely metaphysical. The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is held only by the Roman Catholic Church; it is not accepted by any other Christian denomination.

The doctrine of the Virgin Birth refers to the birth of Jesus. It is the idea that Jesus was conceived without sexual intercourse, by the work of the Holy Spirit. The effect was physical. The doctrine of the Virgin Birth is held by all Christian denominations, although not necessarily by all individual Christians.

I have seen this error many times. I think it’s because “Virgin Birth” is a short, unimpressive phrase, and when folks want to sound highfalutin’, they gravitate toward the polysyllabic rolling cadence of “Immaculate Conception.” But it’s inaccurate. Even if one doesn’t believe in either idea, one has a responsibility at least to understand what they are.



If you every see anyone saying “The Council of Nicaea created the Bible/edited the Bible/censored the Bible,” know right there and then that the person in question does not know what they’re talking about. The Council of Nicaea formulated the Nicene Creed and considered a number of other issues. At no point was the canon of scripture considered.

The actual assembly of the canon of the New Testament was a long and distributed process, to the extent that it is not actually possible to point to any one event and say “This is the creation.”