Arch Stanton Guest Post: Episode 5 of Today I Learned – Papal Schism

This is less something new I learned rather than perhaps my favorite bit of historical esoterica – the Papal Schism! (or the Great Schism) (or the Western Schism) (or the Schism of 1378) (or the Occidental Schism) (but not “Schism” by Tool, despite being a great song). Really, it’s probably just because of the word “schism” – go ahead and say it out loud. It’s delightful. Also, how many different schisms can there be where this many names are needed?
Anyway, for those of you who were not blessed to take AP European History with Mr Yanko in high school, this particular event concerns the time the Catholic Church accidentally appointed three concurrent popes. Three popes! An orgy of popes! The madness! Consider, if you will, the United States having three simultaneous presidents (rather than the current two – salute to our Comrade in Chief Putin!), and the chaos that would ensue. Now, imagine everyone actually GAVE a shit about what each of these people said, since your allegiance to the wrong one would lead to eternal damnation.
In the 1300’s, the head of the Catholic Church was moved from Rome to Avignon, France; the story behind this is pretty wild but we’ll keep it brief — the French king didn’t like the current Pope, who beat and tortured a 73-old religious figure until he died, leading to an emergency conclave to pick the next Pope, in which the French king forced the conclave to vote for the French nominee by pointing to the last guy who didn’t go along with his wishes; this French guy decided Rome was trash and moved the entire Catholic Church to southern France. The Middle Ages are considered the dark ages of history, but this is merely the background to a weirder story – the Middle Ages were WILD.
This Avignon papacy had developed a reputation for corruption, which alienated everyone that wasn’t French (the French – pissing everyone else off for as long as they’ve been around). After an Avignon pope died in 1378, the Romans saw their chance to reclaim the papacy for themselves, and they elected Bartolomeo Prignano, put fourth by the Italian mob (the Italians – hand-in-hand with the mafia since as long as they’ve been around), who became Urban VI located in Rome. Everyone was happy (note – still the Middle Ages, so no one was happy as everyone died all the time for like, NO reason, and you had to shit in buckets, assuming you were one of the lucky ones), until everyone realized Urban was kind of a dick to his cardinals. Or insane. Being the middle ages, who can tell the difference. The cardinals, being the catty mean girls of the Medieval period, fled Rome to Avignon to pick a new Regina George, electing Robert of Geneva (who became Clement VII) as the antipope located in Avignon. ANTIPOPE. THIS IS A REAL THING AND NOT A JOKE. The Antipope sounds like he was infected by a radioactive batch of holy water, and given the superpower of knowing the last time everyone masturbated. These cardinals claimed they were ‘pressured’ into their selection, and therefore it was all invalid, thus premiering the first ever anti-bullying campaign (or antipope campaign?)
Urban VI, with his feelings hurt by everyone’s change of heart, regretfully stepped aside. PSYCHE — he doubled down and proclaimed everyone who followed the other pope a heretic and destined to burn in hell. Medieval period Catholics were understandable not chill about this whole situation. An array of battles occurred between the cities and states on both sides while everyone tried to figure which side they were on. On the one hand, the FIRST pope (Urban) was in Rome, where the Catholic Church had historically been, but on the other hand, the SECOND pope (Clement) came as part of the the undisputed line of previous popes in Avignon, and all the Church leaders advocated for him as the legitimate pope. Eventually, after decades of separate papal lines, church leaders agreed they should hold an official church council to pick a newer, MORE official pope, but for realsies this time. The only issue is canon dictates an official church council could only be called by the pope, which neither would do at the risk of losing power. Wacky hijinks ensue.
In 1409 (thirty-one years after the original split), two groups of cardinals from both locations met and elected a new pope in order to solve the crisis, electing Alexander V to be the realest pope, damned if canon permitted it. TWO ANTIPOPES! Alexander died almost immediately, and John XXIII was elected in his place — this isn’t really relevant, but John’s original name was “Baldassare Cosaa” – Bald Ass the Pope.
In the most shocking twist of events yet, Bald Ass eventually agreed to hold an OFFICIAL church council, which the Roman pope at the time (Gregory XII) agreed to, thus bringing legitimacy to whoever was elected without lakes of bloodshed. This is the only time something has been decided by papal majority, with two of the three popes agreeing and overruling the third. John and Greg resigned, but the Avignon pope at the time (Benedict XIII) refused to abdicate; he was promptly ex-communicated. Being excommunicated was sort of like getting thrown out of a group chat, except you get condemned to burn in hell to boot. The new, OFFICIAL, NO FOR REAL OFFICIAL Pope, Martin V, was elected and resided in Rome. The Avignon papacy continued for two more popes but had lost all steam and support. Fun fact – Gregory XII, in 1415, was the last pope to resign until Benedict XVI did so in 2013.
Today, you (hopefully) learned that the Catholic Church is basically run the same way Charlie Day from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” approaches getting a cat out of a wall ( And there was a time you could name your kid Bald Ass.

Random Bidtits (6/6/2018)

HEY-OOOOOOO!!!! So who among you is into Christianity and religion? Great, watch this wonderful video on YouTube titled George Carlin on Christianity. He nails it. Next, read Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion because it’s well worth your time if you’re considering pissing away your life on the invisible man in the sky.

Next, who among you are video gamers? Great, you’re not pissing away your life in the slightest. Righteous, broheim. Here’s a YouTube video on how Halo Changed Everything. The guy brings up some solid points that made my neckbeard wither with delight. I’d also suggest that the GTA series changed everything as well. Halo 1 and 2, as well as GTA Vice City and V, are the greatest games ever made. Tangentially, here’s a photo you guys/gals will find interesting:

And another photo that will strike a little too close to home for the bad hombres out there:

And finally, which one of these six stores isn’t like the others?


And finally finally, I was home visiting my family last month when a family member entered the room with the following watch. Made. My. Day.

“If you’ve got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow” – Theodore Roosevelt

Article: The Kushner Family Passover Haggadah

Article from here, shared with me by a surprisingly good hombre.


Welcome to our Passover Seder! The history of the Jewish people reaches back nearly 4,000 years. We began as slaves in the land of Egypt but today we are free. As we recline in the luxury of freedom in our new Kalorama mansion, let us not forget our white Christian brothers and sisters yearning for release from bondage. We remember the baker forced to bake for every wedding and the ovum oppressed by its mother’s womb. May this Seder inspire us to light the torch of liberty and burn anyone who stands in our way. Thus we begin with the lighting of the candles.


Next, we recite the blessing over the wine, given to us from Eric Trump Winery, the largest winery on the East Coast. This wine symbolizes the sweetness of a wealthy father and the joy we feel when we are all together, with the exception of Melania who prefers to stay in New York. Amen.


The parsley on our Seder plate reminds us of spring and the earth’s natural bounty, which does not need cumbersome government regulations. We dip the parsley into salt water representing the bitterness of liberal tears. Then eat.


This is the bread of affliction. It is the simple bread our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt, Brooklyn, and New Jersey before reaching the Promised Land of Washington D.C. Our ancestors overcame great suffering in their journey to freedom without any government assistance. To those who are hungry and in need, we offer our prayers and hope, which is enough — Dayenu!


We’re not answering any questions today. No questions.


The Torah instructs us to teach our children the story of Passover. The sages tell us there are four types of children:

The Wise Child — He understands what’s going on but is unable to convince others.

The Wicked Child — He understands what’s going on but goes along with it because it enriches him.

The Simple Child — He hasn’t a clue what’s going on but stupidly trusts Steve Bannon will figure it out.

The Child Unable to Ask — This kid is so shell-shocked by what’s happening that he turns mute like in the movie Tommy.


A cup of water is placed on the table to honor the prophet Miriam. Legend says God sustained the Jews as they wandered the desert with a steady stream of water coming out of Miriam’s wherever. We embrace this new Passover tradition as passionate advocates for the empowerment of women as symbolized by our “Make Women Great Again” luxury candle, available for sale at This candle combines notes of peony, sandalwood, and conflicts of interest.


Now it is time to retell the story of Passover: A Pharaoh came to power in Egypt who feared the Jews because they wore strange head coverings. He didn’t believe the Jews were loyal to Egypt and loyalty was extremely important to Pharaoh, more than spelling, honesty, or the Constitution.

Pharaoh enslaved the Jews and forced them to make bricks for his tacky buildings with his name written on them in giant hieroglyphs. Then he issued a “Pharaoh-Order” mandating every Jewish male newborn was a security risk and must be drowned in the Nile, Pharaoh’s way of keeping “bad dudes” out of Egypt.

One Jewish mother resisted. She placed her baby in a tiny boat made of ancient Planned Parenthood signs, remnants of a bygone era, and set him afloat in the Nile, hoping he’d be saved. An undercover CIA operative posing as Pharaoh’s daughter found the baby, named him Moses, and raised him as her own.

Eventually, Moses learned of his true family’s identity and tried to help the Jews. (Family must always remain loyal—through felony convictions, product boycotts or impeachment.) Moses started @RoguePALACEfamily to spread hope, but failed to get Pharaoh to pivot on the Jewish labor issue. That’s when God had to step in and visited ten terrible plagues upon Egypt. They were:

Gender Neutral Bathrooms

Tuition-Free Public College

Paid Family Leave

Sensible Gun Control

$15.00 Federal Minimum Wage

Internet Privacy

Carbon Tax


Campaign Finance Reform

Universal Health Care

Egyptians suffered greatly during these plagues. Everyone was getting the same opportunities. Pharaoh couldn’t handle it. After each plague, Pharaoh agreed to let the Jews go. But once the plague disappeared he’d tweet:

“FAKE NEWS got it wrong again — Jews know they r better off w/me than Moses. LOSER!!”

Curiously the tweets always happened on Shabbat. But amid great sorrow over the final plague of universal health care, Pharaoh relented. The Jews fled quickly into the desert without allowing their dough to rise and were stuck with a dry, tasteless, constipation-invoking bread substitute instead — the first matzah.



The shank bone represents the sacrificial lamb Jews slaughtered the night they left Egypt. This Passover we engrave the shank bone with “Elizabeth Warren 2020.”


These herbs remind us of the unfathomable bitterness of white working class America who threw a Hail Mary into our system of government in a last-ditch effort to bring back jobs in coal, steel, and VCR repair.


A yummy salad of apple, nuts and cinnamon which shows off Ivanka’s cooking skills and her relatable desire to be a sweet and caring mother to her children. #familytime


This egg is a symbol of rebirth and new opportunities for revenge on those who have betrayed us.


We set aside a special cup of wine for the prophet Elijah. Legend says Elijah will return to earth to lead the way for peace. Unfortunately, we are unable to open our door to welcome Elijah as tradition dictates due to the protesting crowds outside.


As we conclude our Seder we give thanks to the Lord, our God, and ask for his greatest blessing of peace but take nothing off the table.

This year we are here; next year in Moscow!

Pascal’s Wager Paying Off Big League!!!

The driver of this Toyota Avalon really pulled a fast one on the old man upstairs!

This man wagered…wisely. 

Also, disregard the Flyin’ Hawaiian on my dash.  She serves as a constant reminder of my white privilege.

Speaking of cars facts, I guarantee you this guy insists on driving a stick:

And finally, this man has been lining the pockets of his shareholders for years…KA-CHINGGGGG!!!

Song of the Day (4/16/2017) and Arrested Development/Reagan

Happy Easter/Passover everyone!  This week, we take a moment to remember a final supper, a betrayal, and a beard (and the man beneath it) that rose from the ashes postmortem (how’s my Latin?  Do I need to go back to the Roman Catholic Church and do some boning up?).

I’m not quite sure how JC rose from the dead – he really pulled a rabbit out of his ass, and while I have never pulled a rabbit out of my own, I have definitely pulled out my fair share of hares.  Write that down.

Today’s song of the day is May we All by Florida Georgia Line.  Some easy listening for you while you’re searching for eggs, either in your backyard or in your wife.  Your Sunday is your business.

Obligatory Arrested Development references:

…dot com.

…climb that wall, homo!

This blog is looking more and more like it should just be an instagram account; however, fuck tech savvy millennials.  I was at a friend’s parents’ house a few weeks ago – the mother works as a political correspondent for Fox News (fingers crossed she gets a big payday from Bill “Fuck it, we’ll do it live” O’Reilly) – and I came across this epic shrine to Ronnie:

Next.  I walked through an estate sale yesterday and came across the best piece of marketing of all time:

Whatever happened to Amoco?  Ohhhhh, I know, it was swallowed up by BP (no joke).  I haven’t heard of BP since that big oil spill in the gulf.  Wonder what they’re up to these days

we’re sorry.

Alrighty!  Time to go eat dinner, happy Easter/Passover everyone!

(Photo above from Brooklyn last week.  As someone said, when Brooklyn is sending their people into Manhattan, they’re not sending their best).

Today’s bad taste joke of the day comes from a close family member and all around funny guy: I was at the church the other day and the Father was complaining that while the nativity scene out front was beautiful, the local youth kept on stealing the baby Jesus.  Easy fix, I told the priest that I could probably find four roman centurions to nail it down.

Stay thirsty, mis amigos. 

A Quick Vent on Organized Religion

But first.  Read a good one today:  Two jews find out that Hitler walks past a certain alley every morning at 8am.  So they decide to wait in the alley and kill Hitler and save the world.  They get to this alley at 5am and wait…6am…they wait.  7am…they wait.  8am…still no Hitler.  So they decide to wait a bit more.  9am…11am…2pm…4pm…  At this point one turns to the other and says, “I hope he’s okay!”

I like that one – will use it from now on.  These not-terribly-offensive jokes are always worth a hearty shekel.

Separately, I came across the following sign last weekend in America’s heartland.

I was SO FUCKING tempted to knock on their front door and tell them of the time when a close friend was rolling joints in a hotel room, ran out of rolling papers, and proceeded to rip a page from the Bible for his next joint.  That’s a true story.

I’m miffed, no, livid, that bible thumpers still have a vote in this country.  And it’s not just the dyed in the wool fanboys that shoehorn religion into every hole of the evolutionary process.  It’s also the people who pay homage for a single hour each week.  It’s ditzily unreal.  In protest, I’ve decided to camp out at the following location:

And set up a booth, pamphlets and all, promoting the Flying Spaghetti Monster as a palatable alternative to their “God.”  My scam is no more shamelessly invented.  It’s akin to intellectual high treason, to steal a term.  And yet, I can’t overlook the economic genius of the church.  As a raging capitalist, I appreciate the fact that the church is simply polishing the heels of well-heeled people.  But to join these milksops in their ill-fated quest for higher understanding in the pages of the Bible?  I’d rather eat my hat.  Assuming its kosher.

That’s probably enough venting for now.  I’ll leave you with these two quotes:

“Some people have views of God that are so broad and flexible that it is inevitable that they will find God wherever they look for him. One hears it said that ‘God is the ultimate’ or ‘God is our better nature’ or ‘God is the universe.’ Of course, like any other word, the word ‘God’ can be given any meaning we like. If you want to say that ‘God is energy,’ then you can find God in a lump of coal.” – Steven Weinberg

“There is in every village a torch – the teacher; and an extinguisher – the priest.” – Victor Hugo

In reality and in all honesty, I delineate between religion and spirituality/higher power.  I have no issue with the latter.  None.  Only the former, organized religion, that naturally assumes your religion is right and the others must be wrong.  This is the progressive, twenty first century.  Organized religion, like vaginal intercourse, is better left to Amish puritans and luddites.

Side thought, has anyone ever considered bringing the church public via IPO?

Russell’s Teapot

Some of you may be familiar.  Some of you may not.  The following is taken from “Is There a God?” by Bertrand Russell (commissioned by, but never published in, Illustrated Magazine, in 1952).

“Many orthodox people speak as though it were the business of sceptics to disprove received dogmas rather than of dogmatists to prove them. This is, of course, a mistake. If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.”