Monday, September 23

Watch This First: "Please, Sirs, Leave"

by Jason Toon

So, this pastor who interrupts a marriage service to chase off the wedding photographers... Is he a self-centered egomaniacal "Reverendzilla" whose tantrum ruined the wedding? Or a brave, humble guardian of the sacredness of the ceremony against the out-of-hand commercialization of weddings today?

Watch Watch This First first, every weekday morning. Because the best way to start the day is to start it a few minutes later.

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Tuesday, September 10

The Debunker: What Were the Christians Doing in Rome's Catacombs?

by Ken Jennings

September begins that time of the year when the months are all screwed up. Sept- means "seven," even though September is the ninth month. Ditto for Oct-ober (not the eighth), Nov-ember (not even close to the ninth) and Dec-ember (yada yada tenth month). It's all the Romans' fault, since they're the ones who threw off the count by adding January and February to the calendar around 150 BC. Ken Jennings sticks it to those toga-wearing troublemakers by debunking four bits of persistent malarkey about the Roman empire. Are you not entertained?!?

The Debunker: Did Christians Hide from Persecution in Rome’s Catacombs?

In last week’s Debunker, we learned that Emperor Nero did not, in fact, fiddle while Rome burned. He did, however, seek to deflect responsibility for the fire by blaming it on a brand-new Roman religious cult: the Christians. In the years following the fire, Nero became the first great persecutor of the new faith, ordering many of its followers crucified, fed to dogs, or even (according to Tacitus) burned at Nero’s palace "to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired." Yikes.

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Wednesday, May 09

The Trivial Eye: The Faces of the Gods

by Jason Toon

The gods and demigods of the ancient world were more than just deities: they were entertainers. As colorful as superheroes, as petty as soap opera divas, as rowdy as cowboys, their adventures whiled away many a night in the pre-TV age. And while they may not command the worship they used to, as entertainers, they've had the kind of staying power Bob Hope could only dream of. Can you name the gods, goddesses, and heroes depicted in the millennia-spanning gallery below?

Answers are here. Please post your guesses, speculations, or arguments, below! But know this: the Trivial Eye is presented for public amusement and no prizes are offered other than that familiar feeling of aggravation that so much of your mind is occupied by useless trivia.

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