Posts Tagged ‘Pope’

Dovetail tools, bless 'em ...

I have almost no idea why two particular stories in today’s news dovetail in my mind, but for reasons perhaps only the severely disturbed might grasp, they do.

First is this piece on some little dudes who’ve managed to stay alive for … get this … 34,000 years.

It wasn’t long ago that a whole new life form was discovered, and here we are again learning that the impossible is … well … not.

“It was actually a very big surprise to me,” said Brian Schubert, who discovered ancient bacteria living within tiny, fluid-filled chambers inside the salt crystals.

Salt crystals grow very quickly, imprisoning whatever happens to be floating — or living — nearby inside tiny bubbles just a few microns across, akin to naturally made, miniature snow-globes.

“It’s permanently sealed inside the salt, like little time capsules,” said Tim Lowenstein, a professor in the geology department at Binghamton University and Schubert’s advisor at the time.

Ah … the stuff we don’t know until it bites us on the ass. (Okay, until science folks dedicated to the looking find. Not the same as an ass bite, sure, but it’s not like the stuff didn’t exist before the finding, is it?)

A quick mention of the fact that both these discoveries come out of California, as do I, and I’m liking that and trying to think of a clever link, but failing.

Perhaps because I’m so far out on the linking limb already in tying that story to this one titled: Is John Paul ll Being Fast-Tracked To Sainthood?

Sure, there’s a time thing they have in common … 34,000 years alive and six years dead … but that’s a stretch, isn’t it? Maybe it’s something to do with bacteria in general?

Or maybe it’s the whole miracle-makes-saint deal …

Pope Benedict XVI has recognized a miracle attributed to Pope John Paul II, bringing the late pontiff one step from sainthood a mere six years after his death, the Vatican announced on Friday (Jan. 14).

By signing a decree accepting the miracle, Benedict completed one of most rapid beatifications in the modern history of the Catholic Church. Another miracle attributed to John Paul’s intercession will be required before he can be declared a saint.

Where am I going with this? (That’s a question to self, btw.)

Let’s try this …

Some old git kicks it back in 2005, the crowd goes wild shouting “santo subito” in that We-are-all-individuals! sort of way and sets up a chain reaction that ignores the fact the dead guy was up to some nasty shit before biting the dust yet does manage to dig up a nun who started feeling better a couple of months later. Okay.

On the other side of the planet, life goes on as it has for the last 34,000 years within some salt crystals.

Both stories make today’s news. One is no surprise at all while the other is an astonishing discovery. One adds to the body of human knowledge as the other points out how pointlessly inane people can be. One recognizes a new and unexpected push at the edge of the envelope we call life while the other bestows honors that are only awarded to dead folks.

I’m thinking 34,000-year-old bacteria actually trump anything that managed to stick around for less than 9 mere decades, so perhaps it would make some sense if the popester were to convey some sort of holyosity on the microorganisms for toughing it out.

Nah. What good would that do them?

But, then again …

What good will it do John Paul at this stage of the game? He’s more bacteria than anything else by now anyway …

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Since I’ve been busy lately … mucho work and some pleasant and interesting communication … I’m opting for a familiar blogging out I call “Harvest and Harangue”, meaning I go through the day’s news and bitch about the stuff that pisses me off.

I’ll start with murder, since that’s always such a popular topic, and with one I recall so well.

December 8, 1980 … Mark Chapman shot John Lennon. All these years later, the genius that was John is still dead and the fuckwad who killed him has had another parole hearing.

“I felt that by killing John Lennon I would become somebody and instead of that I became a murderer and murderers are not somebodies,” he said.

In a closing statement, Chapman said his life had changed because of Jesus.

“I know him, he is with me, he is with me now, he is helping me speak to you now. Without him I am nothing, I would have been an even bigger nobody.”

With some modicum of sense, the parole board turned him down again, but the fact that he gets to do this every couple of years … trot out his somebodyness and get his ugly mug in the international press annoys the shit out of me. As for his Jesusness … well, Jim Jones had that happening, too, if I recall and look at the holy shit he created.

Moving right along, but sticking with murder … if you’ll excuse the expression in this case … this story is one you can sink your teeth into.

A Broadmoor patient who confessed to killing two women in East Sussex in 1998 and eating flesh from one of them has been jailed for at least 21 years.

He also admitted trying to murder and rape a Czech student on a train and raping a London woman in her home.

Excuse me … but TWENTY-ONE years? WTF are these people thinking? Lock up and throw away the key, peeps, because the world don’t need this person.

The judge said that it had been “to his credit” that he decided while he was at Broadmoor “to get these terrible crimes off his chest, because he was concerned that he was too dangerous at that stage to be transferred from Broadmoor to a less secure hospital but also because he wanted to remain at Broadmoor”.

To his credit? Sorry, Judge, but this guy gets NO credit, not even if he finds Jesus. I’d say he’s a shark, but that would be an insult to sharks.

And speaking of sharks … sorry, can’t resist an easy segue … they kill, too, but it’s not called murder, it’s called lunch, as the tiger in this story would be happy to tell you if he could just get the bits out of his teeth long enough to spit out a sentence.

The 3.6-metre (12ft) tiger shark was caught on 4 September by a local investment banker who was deep-sea fishing.

Whilst reeling it in, he said he saw a leg poking out of the shark’s mouth.

After cutting the creature open, defence force officers found a torso, two severed arms, and a right leg.

Amazingly, the dude’s fingerprints were readable, but his claims of being a strong swimmer and therefore beyond the dangers of the sea, apparently, didn’t float.

Deadly sea creatures running on instinct and hunger have nothing over some humans when it comes to horror as this story proves … and probably have a more highly developed sense of humor to boot.

A US artist whose satirical cartoon inspired an internet campaign inviting people to draw images of the Prophet Muhammad has disappeared into hiding, her newspaper has said.

Molly Norris, who disavowed the movement that provoked outrage in the Islamic world, has moved and changed her name, the Seattle Weekly said.

She fled after FBI agents warned she was in danger …

FFS, Peeps … get over it! The world has moved beyond stone tablets, even photography was invented a couple of years ago, and if Mo was around today you can bet he’d be paying big bucks to his PR firm to get his mug on the cover of every mag around. After all, that’s de rigueur in the religious leaders game.

Just check out the popester’s spin machine in high gear as they try to clean up the shit he’s smearing around Britain.

The pope urged the UK to guard against “aggressive forms of secularism”.

A speech in which the Pope appeared to associate atheism with the Nazis has prompted criticism from humanist organisations.

However, the Catholic Church has moved to play down the controversy, saying the Pope knew “rather well what the Nazi ideology is about”.

Humanists have said the comments were a “terrible libel” against non-believers.

No shit.

Unfortunately for the spinnsters, he just keeps putting his foot in it …

He said: “Even in our own lifetimes we can recall how Britain and her leaders stood against a Nazi tyranny that wished to eradicate God from society and denied our common humanity to many, especially the Jews, who were thought unfit to live.

“As we reflect on the sobering lessons of atheist extremism of the 20th century, let us never forget how the exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life leads ultimately to a truncated vision of man and of society and thus a reductive vision of a person and his destiny.”

Yep … even in his own lifetime … and, yes, people DO remember … and the catholic church do NOT come out clean.

The Pope’s reaction to the Holocaust was complex and inconsistent. At times, he tried to help the Jews and was successful. But these successes only highlight the amount of influence he might have had, if he not chosen to remain silent on so many other occasions. No one knows for sure the motives behind Pius XII’s actions, or lack thereof, since the Vatican archives have only been fully opened to select researchers. Historians offer many reasons why Pope Pius XII was not a stronger public advocate for the Jews: A fear of Nazi reprisals, a feeling that public speech would have no effect and might harm the Jews, the idea that private intervention could accomplish more, the anxiety that acting against the German government could provoke a schism among German Catholics, the church’s traditional role of being politically neutral and the fear of the growth of communism were the Nazis to be defeated.) Whatever his motivation, it is hard to escape the conclusion that the Pope, like so many others in positions of power and influence, could have done more to save the Jews.

So shut the fuck up, Ben, pull on the big man panties, confess … get it off your chest like the dude who ate women … and thank the Brits for coughing up £12 mil for your holiday.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch …

Movies get news, too … ours being the “live life to the fullest a screen can hold” society … and stories about celebs are oh-so-vital to maintaining the illusion that life is worth living.

Just how worthy should be questioned more often, but this venture up the celebrity ass really should serve to aim a Klieg where the sun don’t shine.

Actor Casey Affleck has admitted the documentary film he made about Joaquin Phoenix quitting Hollywood to become a rap star was staged.

Affleck told the New York Times that Phoenix gave a “terrific” performance”.

Over the last two years, the actor has behaved strangely in public, leading fans and critics to wonder whether he was documenting a breakdown on film.

Ah … duh … since there was a camera following him everywhere. Ya think? Not clever. Not tricky. Just WAY up your own asses, Casey and Joaquin. Andy Kaufman did the same thing years ago … only it was with Carson, not Letterman … and, forgive my smugness, but I called this way back when. (I still expect Andy to show up admitting that his death was part of the act.)

But I’ll end up with a bit of movie news that makes total sense to me. Sacha Baron Cohen is going to play Freddie Mercury in a movie Brian May and Roger Taylor are working on.

“We have Sacha Baron Cohen, which will probably be a shock to a lot of people, but he’s been talking with us for a long time,” May told the HARDtalk show.

Good choice guys.

And that’s the way it was … 17 September 2010 …

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Today is my birthday, so I’ll assume that this offering of easy blog fodder is a gift for the occasion from my good buddy, Ben the Popester … or not.

Pope pens children’s book entitled The Friends of Jesus

Pope Benedict XVI joins a long list of celebrities looking for younger audience with release of book about apostles …

Following in the footsteps of Madonna and Geri Halliwell, Pope Benedict XVI has written a children’s book.

I confess that my own work has taken a turn toward the salacious lately, so perhaps that’s one reason the cliché Old Ben opens with … Once upon a time … followed by, “… there was a small group of men who, one day two thousand years ago, met a young man who walked the roads of Galilee,” has me giggling like a Catholic School girl and mentally replacing the subsequent 48 pages of the imagined actual text with all sorts of rude allusions that run in directions that would make Geppetto, fairy tale version of pedophile that he is, blush; not an easy feat for a guy so into wood, sperm whales and his heart’s desire turning into an ass.

It’s not like there’s any giant leap needed to get from Point A … “group of men”, Catholic, “met a young man” … to Point B … sexual abuse of children by priests … so it seems either stupid or arrogant an angle to choose for a debut foray into kiddy lit.

Could it be Ben’s trying to make a point? The prologue could be considered stirring the pot to any with an abuse/power/bondage thing going on in their head:

The pope “takes us by the hand and accompanies us as we discover who Jesus’s first companions were, how they met Him and were conquered by Him to the point that they never abandoned Him” …

Okay, I’m a cynic. Forgive me. But I can’t help thinking, given the present tone of Papal PR, Benny would have been better off writing a tale on some aspect of Catholic that had less potential for punny parallels … the four horses, for instance. A pony called “Apocalypse” would make one hell of a bedtime story.

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I’m not a big fan of popes, although I will admit to admiring their art collection. I’m largely suspect of the whole name change thing, even if it does work for subsequent Bozos and Ronald McDonalds, and I resent the hell out of their tax-free status.

Add the papal nod to the Nazis, coverups of abuse, opposition to reproductive rights for women and personal fallout from years of Catholic upbringing, and popes get a big thumbs down from me.

For the most part, I’m able to ignore the popeular press as it asks the old git du jour for opinions on just about everything happening in today’s world out of some misguided bow to hierarchies long beyond their sell-buy dates, but Papa Benny’s recent reaction to the British gov’t move toward a level playing field for gays is more than I’m in the mood to let slide this morning.

The Pope has sparked a major political row in Britain by speaking out strongly against the government’s policies on equality.

The effect of the government’s proposals, he said, in an address to Catholic bishops in Britain, has been to impose “unjust limitations on the freedom of religious communities to act in accordance with their beliefs”.

For starters, that “freedom of religious communities to act in accordance with their beliefs” is an old saw that has cut deeply over the centuries since religion was invented, excusing everything from mass exterminations to female genital mutilation, serving up the Kool-Aid in one form or another and forcing millions to stop with the thinking stuff and take a big ole swig.

It’s also just bloody rude for the popester to come out swinging when his upcoming trip to the UK is going to cost a bomb, as pointed out by the head of the National Secular Society:

“The taxpayer is going to be faced with a bill for £20m for the visit – in which he has indicated he will attack equal rights and promote discrimination.”

On top of it all, the elephant in the room … pink, of course … securely tethered to Ben’s insistence:

Pope Benedict XVI has condemned British equality legislation for running contrary to “natural law” as he confirmed his first visit to the UK later this year.

We’ll call that pachyderm “gay priests”.

There is no question that homosexuality in the priesthood is widespread … so to speak.

One can only wonder what Ben would have to say about ChurchOuting.Org, a website set up to out gay priests who “… stand silent while Archbishop Wuerl and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops increase their dogmatic war against gay families.”

Openly acknowledging and addressing the elephant, however, isn’t likely, but we can expect more papal bull.

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