Thursday, October 14, 2010

joe ratzinger

It seems like the Catholic Church and especially the pope have been under a lot of fire lately, over the priest sex-abuse scandal. There's definitely a lot that needs to be uncovered there, and I hope that the perpetrators will eventually face justice. But I also worry that this scandal has become too much of a surrogate for general unhappiness with the Catholic Church. There's plenty there to criticize, much of it even more important than the abuse scandal, but it's hard to target a lot of it because there aren't the same kind of obvious villains involved.

I'm not Catholic, but it seems like every one of my best friends growing up came from a Catholic family. (Not by my intention - it was just the demographics of my hometown.) I was always envious of my friends for being able to get wine in church - it seemed like a pretty cool and grown-up kind of thing. And I've always thought that the Catholic Church did many good things: not just giving people hope in a troubled world etc., but all the charitable acts by its followers.

But ultimately I think there's so many things wrong with what the Catholic Church is teaching now. Let's see: I disagree with them on divorce, contraception, abortion, the role of women in the clergy and society in general, the environment (especially the church's insane advice to Catholics to keep cranking out as many kids as possible - have you heard of overpopulation???), and rock music. Probably a few other things, too. And it seems like in every case, Joe Ratzinger is pushing for the most extreme, conservative, and reproachable position possible.

Don't know who Joe Ratzinger is? How quickly we forget! That was the pope's name before he became pope. Apparently, when someone is promoted to pope, we're supposed to believe that they become semi-godlike and infallible and whatnot. Some sort of magical process, akin to the selection of the next Dalai Lama or something like that. But there was nothing holy about the way Joe Ratzinger became pope: he did all this political behind-the-scenes shit, like some German Dick Cheney, and got elected by these church buddies that he'd had promoted over the years.

And then, to complete the whole transformation, he gets to pick a special name like Most Excellent Benedict or His Royal Priestness or something. Well, he's never gonna be that to me. You're still Joe Ratzinger - always will be - and I abhor just about everything you've tried to get the church to represent. You see, I don't need the sex scandal thing to call you on all the crap you try to advance. So take that ...

lost in "Lost"

I've always thought that it's important to blog about what's important to you, so I'm gonna take a few moments to talk about "Lost." I've never seen the show "live" on prime time TV; it's been all DVD viewing. At present I'm about halfway through Season 6 (the last season), and waiting for the next DVD from the public library here in Mad City. Unlike most people, I've seen 5+ seasons within the past year, which is pretty impressive when you think about it. Also, I think my condensed viewing of "Lost" gives me kind of a unique perspective on the show.

Probably my favorite character is Kate, mainly because she's so smokin' hot. For a dangerous fugitive on the lam, she does a lot of dumb, helpless-girl kind of stuff, like constantly getting captured and forced to wear skimpy dresses (not that I'm complaining or anything - yowza!). But I can forgive that stuff, on account of her hotness.

My next favorite character, and probably the favorite if you only take character into consideration, is Desmond. He's pretty cool. He has this stranded, tragic-figure kind of air around him, which I can identify with. Also, he got to chill in that cool Hatch pad for a long time. I wish my apartment was like the Hatch. I'm working on it ...

I also like Miles. I like his attitude.

Least favorite character: probably Charlie. I actually cracked a bottle of champagne when he bought the farm. (And props to Desmond for predicting that, over and over again ...) It's a travesty that Charlie was a rock star, and yet few people have ever heard of Inflatable Bitch. I've also heard that in real life he dated Evangeline Lilly (the woman who played Kate), which angers me.

And finally, a special shout-out to Desmond's love, Penny. You're hot too, baby! Don't think I forgot about ya! But I have to show a certain degree of decorum, because your husband is probably my favorite non-Kate character.

mad city, in the big city

So, I was back in New York a few days ago, this time for a long weekend. And in case of anyone thinks I'm too attached to the Big Apple, I had a legitimate excuse for being there: a conference. A two-day conference, in fact. But despite spending most of Friday and half of Saturday in a big lecture hall, I still got around town and did my share of big-city shizzle. In fact, more than my fair share, since I'm kind of familiar, to a certain degree, with NYC now, and can root out cool stuff there better than your average Midwestern tourist.

I have to confess, I did hit a bunch of my old haunts again: the High Line park, Brooklyn Bagel, P.S. 1 Contemporary Arts Center in Long Island City, etc. Some places you just can't stay away from, I guess, though my hotel was only about a mile from P.S. 1 and so it would've been stupid for me not to go there. But I did explore some new ground too - a quick rundown:

- Had dinner my first night at Fatty Cue, a hip BBQ joint in Williamsburg that I meant to get to this summer but just never did. Not too bad, but not quite up to the hip-hype.

- Visited the Noguchi Museum in Queens. Definitely worth a visit.

- Saw two movies which I figured I'd never get a chance to see in Madison. The first was really good, a documentary called Marwencol. The second was a low-budget sci-fi debut type movie called "Jim," and it doesn't deserve a link. I don't think it'll ever make it out of Greenwich Village; but in case it does, you've been warned.

- Saw "Wicked" on Broadway. Yay! Great production, though the music is pretty ordinary.

- Stopped by the big celebration for what would have been John Lennon's 70th birthday at Strawberry Fields, right across from the Dakota Apts. in Central Park West. It was pretty cool: lots of people doing an impromptu sing-along to a band playing Beatles songs. Very upbeat vibe, though I couldn't help but feel kind of down when I considered that John was younger than me when he was gunned down. And that it happened almost 30 years ago. Thirty years without John Lennon.

So, that's about it, other than the conference and some miscellaneous little stuff like getting a tuna melt at midnight at a cool diner next to the 7 line. Oh, and after seeing all that art, I've been inspired to start my own art project: taking photos of the Empire State Building from different places around the city. Pretty cool, huh? Maybe someday it'll be shown at P.S. 1 ...

blog night

Hi ho, everyone. I have to admit, I've neglected "Mad City" over the past couple of weeks. But largely that's because I've been visiting some real mad cities, like New York City. And to make it up to everyone, I've declared tonight to be Blog Night, and I'm gonna bang out a few entries right now. Making up for lost time, as it were. Hang on ...