Friday, December 12, 2014

Holy Bloodline

This is not some post about whether Jesus and Mary Magdalene had a child it is a post about the siblings of Jesus.

The Bible says that Jesus had brothers and sisters:

"Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?" (KJV, Matthew 13:55-56)

It is the only chapter which specifically names the brothers of Jesus and mentions he has sisters. There are other verses which refer to them though; these are Matthew 12:46, Luke 8:19, and Mark 3:31.

So where did they come from?

Nobody knows. There are 3 main views:
  • The siblings are of Mary and Joseph after the birth of Jesus.
  • The siblings are from a previous marriage of Joseph.
  • The siblings were in fact cousins of Jesus.
Three plausible options. But only one can be right. Which one?

Are they the children of Joseph and Mary born after Jesus' birth? Unlikely. The birth of Jesus is the miracle virgin birth; so if Mary gave birth after that it would be mentioned. If you can mention a wedding that Jesus attends then it stands to reason that the birth of Jesus' brother would be mentioned also; along with some parable and such.

Are they from a previous marriage of Joseph? The Bible makes no mention of Joseph being married before Mary. But the apocryphal text 'The Protoevangelium of James' states that Joseph was a widower, an old man, and had sons. The apocryphal text 'The Infancy Gospel Of Thomas' also states that Joseph had at least one son who is called James.

Are they cousins? Thanks to translation the idea that they are cousins works in one way. The Greek word used for 'brother' also denotes more distant relationships unlike its English counterpart. The problem is that early Christian literature refer to then specifically as the 'brothers of the Lord'.

Which one is correct? Your guess is as good as any. All things considered it is likely that the brothers and sisters mentioned were either full or half siblings; with most biblical scholars leaning to the idea of half-siblings.

The chances of a full Holy bloodline is very unlikely but there is definitely a bloodline which should have some sort of special meaning seems it is from the family of Jesus. But to prove it you'd need to be able to find the remains of Joseph, his sons and daughters, and then hope that yo can get a decent DNA sample from all. But even with a DNA sample from all you would then need to be able to reliably trace their descendants and get DNA samples and trace more and more generations.

So is there a holy bloodline? Most likely, even though it is from the half-brothers and half-sisters of Jesus, but proving it is another thing. But, just as a thought the person sitting across from you as you read this could be a descendant of Jesus' family. Might be a good time to say "Hi" and see about them putting a good word in for you.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Page 80

There are many unanswered questions that may never have a satisfactory answer. Some of those questions include:
  • Why is there a light in the fridge and not in the freezer?
  • Why are the Kardashians alive; and what is their purpose?
  • If you put a chameleon in a room full of mirrors, what colour would it turn?
  • How did a passport made of paper survive the 9/11 attacks but steel didn't?
  • If man evolved from monkeys why do we still have monkeys?
  • Why is a carrot more orange than an orange?
  • When does it stop being partly cloudy and start being partly sunny?
But my own personal unanswered question is:
  • What happens on page 80?
To even have a guess at an answer you kind of need to know the circumstances that lead up to the question. Here is the scenario behind the question.

One day, in an English classroom in 1987, there is a substitute teacher covering a double period of 3rd year English. She is young and has most likely just qualified as a teacher ten minutes before the class started.

Without a clue about what the class was meant to be doing she blindly hands out a book which is neither on the 'approved' list or anything the class has heard of.

Dread covered the entire classroom in just a few seconds. Everyone knows that an hour and ten minutes of mindlessly reading a book aloud, which tomorrow would be forgotten, was too much to bare. Somehow a classroom full of bored teenagers reading a book out loud made time slow down. What was a little over an hour could easily seem like an entire lifetime.

Stephen Hawking once stated that if you had a long enough classroom, with two rows of children reading aloud to each other, and walked between the rows you could actually exit the classroom ten minutes before you entered. He also stated that the effect of time slowing down could be observed more on a sunny day in June.

LEGAL NOTE: There is no evidence to suggest that Stephen Hawking ever stated the above; it is merely a rumour that may or may not have started at the above point.

OK, back to the topic. So a class of 30 children had 15 books. And the book was a book of short to medium poems. Poems were read, discussed, and then on to the next. To be honest the dread soon faded because it wasn't that bad of a book. But then it happened, just as someone was half-way through a poem the bell rang. As with any class that bell was the all-important signal to get out and waste 5 minutes before the next lesson started. The fact it was a substitute teacher changed nothing - the bell rang and within mere seconds the classroom was empty.

What does this have to do with page 80? The poem that was being read started on page 79 and finished on page 80. I have no clue how the poem ends; and to be honest I have no clue ow the poem starts I'm just hoping if I see the poem itself, or the exact book, again I will remember it.

Page 80 creeps back in to my thoughts every now and again as I try to recall the poem or the book. And every once in a while I'll mention it to old school friends who cannot remember the day, lesson, teacher, or the book. It is like page 80 will never be known. But every poetry book that was published before 1988 that catches my eye I instantly turn to page 79 to see if it is the right book.

So far the book, or poem, has not been found and may never be. But it hasn't stopped me looking; and I may never stop looking. If I ever do find it I'll post the poem, and book details here - even though it won't mean much to anyone but me.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Adding Images To MP3 Files

For those that don't know I dabble in making mashups. Nothing professionally done just using Audacity - cutting and pasting acapellas and instrumentals together. They are completed under the moniker of "Badly Done Mashups" and have their home on HearThis and a blog as well.

Someone got in touch with me and asked why I bother to do a cover for each mashup and yet fail to embed it in the actual MP3 file. They downloaded one of my mashups (Riders On A Black Horse) to their iPod and the cover with Jim Morrison and KT Tunstall never went across with the MP3 file.

I'll admit I never thought about MP3 players so never bothered to embed the cover that went along with the mashup. I loaded one of the mashups into VLC and spent two minutes staring at the default cone. So I decided to see what would be the easiest way of adding the artwork to the MP3 file. I had tried in the past for something else and instead of allowing individual artwork it was the same album cover for all the tracks.

It took a total of 8 seconds on Google to find a program called EasyTAG and it was in the Ubuntu repositories (it is also available for Windows). So I installed it via the command line:

sudo apt-get install easytag

The usual ID3 tags.

You can add multiple images if you want.

And how easy is it to use? Simple. Everything is clearly laid out, and clearly labelled. Now if I release a mashup without artwork it is just because I forgot.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Installing Peppermint OS 5

Peppermint OS is based on the LTS (Long Term Support) version of Ubuntu and as such the latest version (version 5) will presumably be supported until 2019 the same as Ubuntu 14.04 will be.

Why Peppermint OS instead of Ubuntu? No reason really. But Peppermint by default doesn't have the Unity desktop environment instead it uses LXDE (Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment). Not that there is anything wrong with Unity as such it is just not my cup of tea. There are hundreds of distributions based on Ubuntu LTS. It could have been any one of them. But I gave Peppermint OS a try via Live USB and decided to install it. For more distributions based on Ubuntu see the search at

So how hard is it to install? It isn't hard. It follows the same procedure as Ubuntu pretty much.

  • Download the ISO file (either 32-bit or 64-bit).
  • Use Unetbootin to write the ISO file to a USB thumb drive (I've had varying success with Unetbootin in the past and usually just use the dd command (sudo dd bs=4M if=somedistro.iso of=/dev/sdb). But as the Peppermint OS website recommended it I thought I'd give it a go. And it worked first time).
  • Boot from the USB thumb drive.
  • Select Peppermint Live.
  • Once it has booted to the Peppermint OS desktop; double-click the icon labeled "Install Peppermint 5".

From here it gets hard to explain as everyone will have different choices. Each step is pretty self explanatory so I'll just tell you what I did. If in doubt about any of it read the 'install guide' on the Peppermint OS website.

  • First screen in the installer asks what language you want to use. I chose English.
  • The next screen checks you have at least 4GB of disk space and are connected to the Internet. It also has two check boxes - one asking if you want to download updates while installing and the other asking if you wish to install the MP3 codec. I checked both.
  • The next screen is where the fun begins. It asks how you would like to install Peppermint OS. Options include wiping the drive, encrypted, LVM, or 'Something else'. I chose 'Something else' because I wanted to install to a partition. WARNING: ONLY COMPLETE THIS BIT IF YOU ARE SURE WHAT YOU ARE DOING OTHERWISE YOU MAY LOSE DATA.
  • Because I chose 'Something else' in the previous screen I was presented with a screen showing all the partitions on the hard drive. I chose /dev/sda4 - a 15GB partition, formatted it as ext4, and had the bootloader install to the same partition. WARNING: THERE IS NO TURNING BACK AFTER THIS POINT. IF YOU ARE UNSURE ABOUT ANYTHING AT ALL DO NOT CLICK CONTINUE.
  • As the installation takes place it will ask you to select the time zone, keyboard layout, username, password, hostname, and whether or not you want to login automatically.
  • If you made it here sit back and relax while the installation completes. Total time for install will depend on whether or not you selected to download updates and the MP3 codec and the quality of your internet connection. Mine took about 20 minutes.
  • When it is all finished you will get a pop-up asking if you want to continue testing Peppermint or reboot. The choice is yours.


I used the 64-bit version. I installed to /dev/sda4 simply because it was an empty partition. As mentioned this will not suit everyone. I had the bootloader install to /dev/sda4 which really never gets used as I have other versions of Linux (Mint, Crunchbang, and Bodhi) and Mint installed the original bootloader, and Grub Customizer is used to update it.


Altering, resizing, and creating partitions can result in data loss. If you are unsure of anything then don't do it. If you want to learn to do it then try it in a virtual machine such as VirtualBox on your present operating system first. You can't make an omelette without cracking a few eggs is my theory; but some don't backup data and then when the eggs start cracking make scrambled eggs instead. If in any doubt ask questions in the comments and I'll do my best to either answer or point to somewhere that can answer.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Can We Stop Blaming Eve?

Imagine you have just started a job. The manager has given you the express 5-minute tour and told you a few rules. Later, when working with Greg he tells you it is OK to take the rejects home. You don't want to appear greedy so only put a couple in your bag. As you are leaving the manager stops you to ask how your first day went and notices the rejects sticking out of your bag. He accuses you of theft and says he won't call the police but fires you.

Was it your fault? Some may say if you wasn't sure then you should have asked and not just took Greg's word for it. Others may say it was Greg's fault as you didn't know he would lie. A very few may say it is the fault of the manager for not explaining everything.

So what has this imaginary manager, job, and Greg got to do with Eve? God is the manager, Greg is the serpent, and you are Eve.

You want to read the Bible at this point. Well not all of it but the first three chapters of Genesis (You can skip most of the first chapter, and half of the second chapter as well if you want).

Now you have read that (or just carried on reading pretending you did) time to put the events in order.

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat." (Gen 1:27-29, KJV)

"And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." (Gen 2:7, KJV)

"And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." (Gen 2:16-17, KJV)

"And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him." (Gen 2:18-20, KJV)

"And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;  And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." (Gen 2:21-23, KJV)

"Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat." (Gen 3:1-6, KJV)

If you read the creation story in chapter 1 it says God creates man and woman (Adam and Eve) at the same time and gives them 'every tree'. No mention of not eating any particular tree.

Reading the creation story in chapter 2 it says God created man (Adam), told him about the tree of knowledge, got man (Adam) to name all the animals and then created woman (Eve) from a rib of Adam while he slept. No mention of the tree to the woman (Eve).

It may be presumptuous to think that everything should be mentioned in the Bible but at the same time if it is important to mention that God told Adam about the tree of Knowledge; surely if he had said something similar to Eve it would have been squeezed in to Chapter 2 of Genesis somewhere.

So when Eve tells the serpent that God said if they eat or touch the the fruit of the tree of Knowledge they will die what she really means is that Adam said God said - the first example of hearsay in the history of Christianity.

So should Eve be blamed for the demise of mankind? No. On one hand you have a talking snake saying it is OK to eat the fruit and on the other hand you have Adam saying that God said. If it was such an important rule then maybe the fault lies with God for not saying something to Eve himself. After all he told Adam about the tree, then got him to name the animals, and then created Eve. Adam's mind was elsewhere you cannot be expecting him to remember something about a tree after naming all the animals and then waking up to a wife.

Eve is off the hook because the 'manager' never told her himself. Adam is off the hook because God put too much on his plate at once. The blame for the downfall of mankind lies clearly, and squarely, with God.