Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Nurses and a Missed Date With Destiny

A few weeks ago, a couple of women on The View got in hot water with the nursing profession. It seems the woman who went on to win the Miss America crown (apparently, still a thing that happens) performed a monologue for the talent portion of the pageant; the monologue was about her work as a nurse. 

Two women on the View thought it was high-frickin' hilarious that this contestant "performed" a monologue instead of, I don't know, tap dancing or playing the harp. (1)

(1) 87% of the women in the US who know how to play the harp will wind up competing to be Miss America. True fact.

I thought it an ingenious turn and it probably helped the future Miss America win the crown. It was a monologue told with heart and humor. It was not the embarrassing debacle those two women on the View were trying to portray. 

Then things took a more depressing turn when the nurse/beauty pageant contestant was derided for wearing a stethoscope with her nurse's scrub. 

You know, a doctor's stethoscope. 

Yeah. So nurses all over rose up in anger to protest the View and advertisers began pulling their commercials. The View tried to make up for it by bringing a whole bunch of nurses to appear on the show. Which was a gutsy move by the View to bring dozens of nurses on stage with stethoscopes they clearly have no idea how to use. Stethoscopes in the wrong hands can be used... for murder.  

Seriously, nurses are awesome. Just like doctors, they have the sacred trust of providing medical help to those in needs. Not like doctors, nurses have to actually check your vitals, stick you in the arm if you need a shot, have to deal with an attack of hysteria when someone doesn't want to get a shot. (2)

(2) And here, I'm referring to no one in particular. Oh and let me take this opportunity to say "hi" to my daughter if she's reading this.

Nurses have to deal with blood, urine, excrement and vomit as a regular part of their job. Being a nurse is a stressful and dirty job and nurses get paid fuck all for doing it. Along with teachers, nurses' pay is definitely not in sync with the high level of responsibility they shoulder day in and day out. 

Maybe it's because nurses are mostly women. Nah, women like to help and nurture; it's in their nature. We don't need to pay them that much. I wonder if they'll work for free, you know, for the love of being a nurse?  

Yes, that's bullshit. Being a nurse may be a noble calling but it is also a job and people should be paid what they're worth for that job, regardless of what the job is and the gender of the person doing it. 

There are more men nurses now. My mom, a frequent customer of various medical services, likes male nurses. She is also, at 78 years old, still a bit of a flirt.  

But even when I was a teenage in high school looking to deciding what to do when high school was over (3), my mom suggested I should go to nursing school. 

(3) Other than hide in a corner of my room and cry. I was going to have to grow up. I was opposed to that but hey, who listens to me? 

Please understand at this point I had lived with my mom all of my life. I'm reasonably sure she was there on day one. You would think she would know me pretty well. I had absolutely no fortitude when it came to dealing with the human body. When I was in the 4th grade, I fainted while my class was singing that song about which bones are connected to other bones. Just thinking about the human skeleton made me dizzy. 

Yet she suggested I go to nursing school. 

She may have suggested this not because she thought I had an aptitude for it (4) but because she thought I might have a special place in our town's newspaper. 

(4) Spoiler: no, I didn't.

Every year, the local paper would publish a picture of the graduating class from the area community college's nursing program. In about 4 long rows were young women in clean white uniforms. And over in the right corner, off to the side, stood one guy. One solitary male nursing student graduating to the big time, the real world, the glory of dealing with blood and vomit. (5) 

(5) Oh, I'm getting dizzy thinking about it. Sorry.

Mom thought that maybe, just maybe, I could be that one guy. 

I disagreed. 

Let's move ahead. 

A few years later, I was home from college taking a break from my hard sought pursuit of a liberal arts degree in broadcast communications. (6)

(6) Great choice, Dave-El!
Am I being sarcastic with myself?
Me? Being sarcastic? With myself? Nooooooo! 

I glanced through the local paper. The class of students who started after I graduated from high school were now graduating from the community college nursing program. In about 4 long rows were young women in clean white uniforms. And over in the right corner, off to the side, stood...

No one. 

There was no guy. 

There. Was. No. Guy!

If I had gone into that nursing program right after high school and assuming I didn't totally wuss on day one (7), I would've been... the guy. The one guy. The one nurse guy! 

(7) I would've totally wussed out. 

Did I miss a date with destiny? Nah, it can't be. All the amazing qualities that makes up a nurse, I have none of them! I don't want to be around sick people! I don't want to get blood and vomit on me! I don't want to stick needles in people! And I don't think I would look good in scrubs! It's just not my style. Oh, I forgot compassion. Because I don't have any. 

OK, I have some but just enough to keep me from being a sociopath (mostly). But nurses, the really good ones, need to have compassion.  

No, that was not my date with destiny I missed. It takes stronger, smarter, kinder people than I to be a nurse. And to nurses everywhere, I salute you! You deserve recognition and respect. And yes, damn you ladies on the View, nurses deserve to wear that stethoscope. 

Everyone, be good to one another. 


Nurses can also be comic book heroes. Check out this cover to Night Nurse#1 from back in the day. 


Talking about the career path I did not take has made me reflect on the one I did take. Or tried to, anyway. Starting tomorrow and each Thursday through October, I will regale you with a tale of a younger man who spent his nights in a...
Radio Daze

Yeah, I was going to be a radio disc jockey. 

And I'm so glad my suffering amuses you. 


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Victory For Victory's Sake

Last week, my favorite blogger Mark Evanier posted this recollection from his time in high school in the late 1960's. It's about a protest centered around the Vietnam War and a principal who found himself on the wrong side of the debate. Read the post itself for the details (as well as for Mark's superior writing skills) but I want to lift this bit from near the end of the piece: 

"We won in order to win. We proved we had some power. It doesn't matter how it directly affects anything. It might even make things worse for us. All that matters is that we won and they lost."  

Mark links this observation to the current state of American politics where the object is less about policy and process and more about who can claim the win. This essay was posted on Thursday, September 24th. The next day provided a profound example of this mentality.  

Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced he was stepping down as Speaker of the House of Representatives as well as resigning from his seat in the House. 

To any political neophytes out there, you might think it's pronounced "boner" but it isn't. It's pronounced "bayner". But go ahead and think "boner" if it helps you to relax.  

Boehner's time as Speaker has been a contentious one but rarely has anyone held that position without some turbulence. After all, the Speaker is the leader of the entire House of both Republicans and Democrats. The Speaker is from the majority party so one would expect it takes some doing to bring reps from the other side of the aisle into line. In the case of Republican John Boehner, one would expect some problems from the Democrats.  

But no. 

The biggest thorn in Boehner's side has been his own party, particularly those hard right, ultra conservative Tea Party types who have dominated the GOP for nearly a decade. These wing nuts have gotten themselves elected on a platform of take no prisoners, make no concessions in a scorched Earth strategy of rolling back or destroying Federal programs and slashing taxes. Their viewpoint is that government has no business being in business, particularly if its business supported by the current President of the United States, Barack Obama. Nothing less than total victory is acceptable regardless of the cost. If the entire government has to be shut down, so be it! 

Boehner is a bit old school when it comes to politics. He knows how to make things work and how to make deals. Yet a big chunk of his own party isn't interested at all in making things work or making deals. So these right wing nuts have little patience for John Boehner. The Tea Party types have been agitating for Boehner to step down as Speaker of the House for years now. 

I've never been sure what to make of John Boehner. On one hand he didn't seem all that removed from the lock step ultra conservatives with his immediate and dramatic condemnations of whatever President Obama did, including whatever the President had for lunch. Even his facial expressions displayed outright contempt for the President such as at the last State of the Union address. 

Or maybe Boehner just has a problem with gas because to be fair, he kind of looks like that all the time. And there were times when for no solid reason that I can give I felt that he was just saying what his rank and file wanted him to say in order to hold his party together. There were times when I thought Boehner looked like he had enough of these bozos in his own party. 

A few years ago, there was a budget crisis looming (like now) with a government shutdown as a real possibility (like now). There were reports that negotiations between the White House and Congress had produced something akin to a "grand bargain", a massive budgetary agreement that would satisfy or at least appease a fairly broad spectrum of political interests, both on the left and the right. It was a great opportunity for Boehner to arrive at a most significant accomplishment of his House leadership.  

John Boehner walked away, not because it was a bad deal but because it was, in the end, a deal and the hard right in his own party held firm: no deals, especially if Obama gets anything out of it. We get our way, only our way or we'll shut this mother down.  

In the end, the government did get back into business with a budget deal that was piecemeal in its execution and arrived at with less satisfaction than the so called "grand bargain" offered. But the Tea Party declared victory. They had shut the government down to prove their point: they could shut the government down. 

As John Boehner stares down the stretch of his final 30+ days as a Congressman and the House leader, he seems more relaxed. In a month, he won't have to deal with those nutcases anymore. And since they won't be his problem anymore, maybe he can get things done since he doesn't have to suck up to the hardliners anymore. He stated Sunday morning he felt confident a government shutdown could be avoided. 

With the pending resignation of John Boehner, what exactly has the hard right of the GOP won? The answer is the pending resignation of John Boehner. Who will be the next Speaker of the House? Will it be someone more sympathetic to the ultra conservative Tea Party movement? Consider how little Boehner was able to accomplish as Speaker, a more pro-Tea Party leader is going to accomplish less. What if the next Speaker decides that the lesson of John Boehner is "Screw the Tea Party" and do what needs to be done without them. But hard right still wields considerable clout in the House and can still obstruct legislation. In the short term, it's hard to imagine that things will not get worse in the House of Representatives, not better. But maybe that's what it will take for things to get better in the long term. The fever of our political insanity needs to peak before it can break. 

Before his resignation was announced on Friday, Boehner made news the previous day for something different. Pope Francis spoke before the joint session of Congress and he spoke on the subject of political divisions and the harm that comes when we don't work together. Sitting behind the Pope, John Boehner lowered his head and wept.   

Like I said, I'm not sure what to make of John Boehner. But his enemies within have won and all that matters to them is that they won. Meanwhile, who has lost? John Boehner, of course. 

Also, everyone else. 

Be good to one another. 

I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You 

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Octopus Who Ate Greensboro


OK, sorry about the jump scare of showing a giant cephalapod attacking a small city in the southern United States. Admittedly, it's not something that happens everyday. 

But an octopus did come to Greensboro this weekend and here's a better, more accurate look at our city's new aquatic denizen. 


Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Yeah, an octopus can be quite the frightening sight but I did give you some warning, you know. 

So this is the octopus who came to Greensboro, specifically to the Greensboro Science Center which is a center...

Even more specifically, the octopus is the resident of the newly constructed wing of the center called the Sciquarium which is an aquarium...

An octopus coming to live in my home town might be cause enough to write about it. God knows I need little cause to write about anything. But in this case, I have a more visceral connection to this story. The El family ventured forth from our Fortress of Ineptitude to see this octopus who had been delivered unto us and to meet the guys who built the thing it was delivered into. 


Now hold on! Either you need some medication or you're just being rude. In the photo above are the guys from the TV show Tanked. They build tanks for fish. They build fish tanks. Fish tanks are what they build. 

So why were they in Greensboro? Nothing much, just to grab some pulled pork barbeque, play some golf, maybe take in a show at the Triad Stage...

They were here to BUILD a FISH TANK! It's what they do. 

In this case, they built a tank for an octopus.  

So we (meaning myself, my wife and daughter along with her friend) were there this past Saturday to see this creature and its wondrous habitat foretold in ancient prophecy. 

So we got to meet the guys from Tanked. (Real nice guys. Wish I could tell you their names.) 

We got to see the tanks the guys from Tanked built. 

We did not, however, get to see the octopus. 

Yes, the octopus was there. This octopus right here. 


You know, that's really annoying. 

Anyway, I did not see that octopus. 

As I desperately plastered myself against the glass whining, "But I can't see it!" (I said the same thing the first time I saw my wife's sonogram when she was pregnant with Miranda), here's the story as told to me by a random woman who was apparently amused by my suffering (hey, blog title tie in!).  

It seems the octopus was afraid to fly. 

Yeah, I think that requires some further elucidation. 

So Friday night was the night of the big gala presentation for the Sciquarium and its guest of honor exhibit, the great octopus. The guys from Tanked put together a pretty nice home for Greensboro's new aquatic resident of the octopoid persuasion. But the octopus wasn't here yet. It seems the octopus had not yet been delivered from Tennessee

You know, when I want to order an octopus, my first thought is, "Hmm! Who in Tennessee should I call?" No, I don't know why an octopus was in Tennessee although it may have been due to a failed attempt to start a country music career in Nashville. For whatever reason, the octopus was still in Tennessee. 

Seems it didn't want to get on the plane. 

OK, I'm kind of making that up. Sort of. Actually, the octopus did not want to get out of the thing it was in in order to get into other thing it was supposed to get in to in order to be flown out of Tennessee to North Carolina. Eventually, someone in Tennessee figured something out ("Hey y'all! I know how to get this here octopus into that oversized Mason jar.") and finally the octopus made it to Greensboro. Where apparently it wasn't happy to be moved from its travel jar into its new home at the Sciquarium. But damn it, that octopus was going in because Friday was the night of the big gala with all sorts of moneyed people standing around with glasses of champagne waiting to see a freakin' octopus appear in a big aquarium...
...which they paid good money for! 

So apparently this picture...


Oh shut up. 

So apparently this picture was taken while the octopus was angry. It's tentacles flailing, suckers pressed against the glass, the octopus pledged that the fires of its hate would burn like the fires of hell and he would have vengeance against all of humanity until all lay dead before him! 

Sadly no one in attendance at the gala speaks octopus and are all unaware of the doom that awaits them one day. 

The next day, the octopus was resting, biding his time, waiting for the moment to strike, waiting...for the moment....of his REVENGE!  

Dammit, all I got to see was part of a tentacle. 

Well, it was still a fun day at the Greensboro Science Center where we got to see a lot of other neat things such as these penguins. 



OK, we're done here. 

Be good to one another. And I'm so glad my suffering amuses you.


Sunday, September 27, 2015

Doctor Who Is NEW!: The Witch's Familiar

Hey, hey, hey, Whovians one and all! Time to take a look at week #2 of Doctor Who Series 9 as we plunge into Part 2 of the adventure that ended last week with: 

  • Missy executed by the Daleks!
  • Clara Oswald also executed by the Daleks!
  • The TARDIS, the indestructible time machine of the Doctor, destroyed by the Daleks!
  • The Doctor captured by the Daleks!
  • A nefarious plan is underway courtesy of Davros, creator of the Daleks!
  • All of this is happening on Skaro, planet of the Daleks!
  • Can I stop ending sentences with the Daleks!? 
  • Yes, I can.
  • the Daleks!
  • Now cut that out! 

All right, enough of this silliness. Let's look back over Episode Two, The Witch's Familiar after we get past the spoiler caution.  

And now here we go in 5...





The Witch's Familiar 
by Steven Moffat 

So Clara and Missy are supposed to be dead. They're not dead. Big surprise. Move on. And Clara and Missy are moving on into the planet. Into the sewers. Wait! Daleks have sewers? Yes they do and wait until you find out what they flush down there. 

Meanwhile, the Doctor is really torn up thinking that Clara's dead. (And maybe a bit bothered that Missy is too? Who knows? Hard to tell with those two.) So the Doctor goes nuts and commandeers a ride right into the heart of the Daleks. The Doctor seems to have the upper hand but Davros, even without a leg to stand on (giggle) takes it back with a little help from Colonel Sanders Colony Saarf. Back once more with Davros, the Doctor is informed that Davros just wants a little quality tine with the Doctor. Before Davros dies. 

Back in the sewers, li'l ol' Missy takes over a Dalek with the assistance of Clara Oswald in a trap and the ugly stuff buried in the sewers of Skaro. Voila! One hollowed out Dalek with just enough room for a certain petite brunette school teacher from Earth to sit in and drive the thing. And if anyone is having flashbacks to Asylum of the Daleks, well, remember, Moffat is evil! Anyway, we find out some interesting things about Dalek communication. If, for example, the life form inside a Dalek shell says "I love you", it comes out as "exterminate"

While Missy and her trojan Dalek return to the surface and bluff their way back among all the other Daleks, the Doctor and Davros are bonding. Really, it's kind of sweet. Davros makes a joke and they both laugh. Then the Doctor works really hard to help Davros to stay alive just long enough so Davros can see the sun. Just one last time. 


Psych! It's a trap! The Doctor's regeneration energy is being siphoned off to kick start the Daleks and Davros too with a new lease on life and access to greater power than ever! Yep, all that is Dalek is getting this upgrade! 

Including the ugly stuff in the Dalek sewers. The ugly and very, very, very angry stuff in the Dalek sewers. 

Uh oh. 

So the Daleks are up to their eyestalks in s**t (I try to keep the Doctor Who posts family friendly but it is a fairly accurate comparison) and Davros sees his schemes upended by the Doctor's secret plan. The Doctor runs into Missy and her Dalek which Missy tries to get the Doctor to kill before the Doctor realizes there's something a little bit different about this Dalek. Oh look, Clara's inside! Yay! 

The Doctor and Clara recover the TARDIS (oh yeah, not really destroyed, big surprise, moving on) but something Clara said while she was in the Dalek causes the Doctor to realize something. 

So we are back at the beginning. The boy in the battlefield amid the hand mines. Davros, future creator of the Daleks. And holding a weapon on him is the Doctor. And the Doctor uses that weapon. 

Oh come on! He's the Doctor! He saves people! Suffice to say, the Doctor's compassion that Davros tried to use agains the Doctor saves the day and sows the seeds of the Doctor's future victory.  

OK, so what do we have here? With The Witch's Familiar, we see something that happens less than we like, the 2nd part of a two parter than improves on the 1st part.  As much as I enjoyed The Magician's Apprentice, there was a sense of pieces being assembled and put into place. With this episode, those pieces are put into motion and bring the story together.  

The Doctor is ashamed of abandoning the boy on the battlefield but that's not why he goes to see Davros. No, Davros is sick and dying and the Doctor is, well, the Doctor, he wants to see if he can help. It is a very much Doctor type of thing to do.  

Missy still can't be trusted. When she needs to test how deep a pit is, she chucks something into it. That something is Clara and Clara's pissed about that. But while Missy is quite evil and untrustworthy, she is still extremely clever, almost Doctor level clever but with a willingness to be even more callous with a companion. Such as Missy handcuffing Clara to a pipe to trap a Dalek. The Doctor wouldn't do that. (Usually.)  

The revelation of what Daleks flush into a sewer is quite the horrible revelation. Daleks don't produce waste but those organic critters inside those salt shaker battle wagons don't stay fresh forever. And the Dalek word for "sewer" is also the Dalek word for "graveyard". But the dead in this graveyard are not dead, just abandoned. And that makes them angry! 

Skree! Skree! Skree! Skree! Skree!  

Everyone I was watching this episode with (Hey y'all, Geeksboro!) tensed up seeing Clara inside a Dalek. Clara's panicked reactions as she coped with learning to maneuver the Dalek echoed the reactions of Oswin in Asylum of the Daleks when she realizes the truth about herself. Steven Moffat rarely misses a chance at symbolism but usually its in service to a future plot point. Was this call back to an alternate Clara a hint at what's to come for Clara Oswald herself as we near the end of Jenna Coleman's time on the show? 

The Doctor spends some time as part of a Dalek, whizzing around Daleks untouchable in Davros' force field protected chair because Davros doesn't trust his own children. But Davros' trick snakes up a dress sleeve, the creepy Colony Saarf, take down the Doctor and brings him back to Davros. It is here that Davros tempts the Doctor, showing him the cables that connect Davors and the Daleks, forever linked. All the Doctor has to do is cut the cables and the Daleks are all dead. Davros uses the word "genocide" and it echoes in the Doctor's memory. The 4th Doctor recognized the elimination of all Daleks as genocide as did the 10th. The 12th Doctor, even with hope lost, still believing Clara dead, is not far gone enough to go down that path. 

Then the Doctor and Davros start to bond.  Well, Davros opens up about how all he wanted to do was the insure the survival of his people in the only way he knew how. And now the question of whether he was a good man for doing so weighs heavily on him as he enters his dying moments. The Doctor says he doesn't believe Davros is dying which leads Davros to say this: "That shows you're not a very good Doctor." Did Davros make a funny? Is the Doctor laughing? Is Davros smiling? What the what? 

Then laughter turns to tears as Davros between gasps of his dying breaths tells the Doctor he had hoped to see the sun rise one last time. Are people around me sniffling? Oh come on! This is Davros we're talking about! Don't be a sucker! 

The Doctor is a sucker. He actually channels up some regeneration energy to give Davros just enough juice to live to see that sunrise. Except oh no it is a trap to get the Doctor to offer up regeneration energy so Davros can siphon off that energy to restore himself and kickstart the Daleks to a new and glorious future with Dalek AND Time Lord power. 

Yes I saw that coming. 

So did the Doctor. That regeneration energy is giving a boost to ALL the Daleks. Including the leftover gloop Daleks gurgling in Skaro's graveyard sewers. The very, very, very angry gloop Daleks who come bursting out of the ground and blasting the Daleks to smithereens. 

The Doctor meets up with the Dalek with the surprise inside, Clara Oswald. Except Missy who just doesn't seem to have an off switch on her evil machine tells the Doctor this is the Dalek that killed Clara Oswald. Clara tries to tell the Doctor the truth but everything just turns into "I am a Dalek" and "Exterminate". But then the Dalek who has the Doctor at point blank range and is not killing him pleads for mercy. And the Doctor knows there is something different about this Dalek. The casing opens and Clara Oswald is revealed. This is one deception from Missy too many as the Doctor tells her to run. As he gently touches Clara's face, is he thinking of another person with this same face who was trapped in a Dalek, someone the Doctor could not save? 

The Doctor and Clara recover the TARDIS which used a different version of HADS (the "D" this time stands for "dispersal", not "displacement) to avoid destruction. The Doctor reassembles the blue box and we're back to "the same old same old, the Doctor and Clara Oswald in the TARDIS". 

But the Doctor is puzzled about how a Dalek would have any concept of mercy. Clara shouldn't have been able to make the Dalek say mercy unless there was some bit of information on the concept buried somewhere deep inside the Daleks. 

The Doctor goes back in time and stands before the young boy Davros with a Dalek gun and exterminates... the hand mines around him. The Doctor saves Davros and introduces Davros to the concept of mercy, a concept that will live on, buried deep within the Daleks' code. 

(You know that time when River Song made a Dalek beg for mercy in The Big Bang? Thank you, Clara Oswald and the 12th Doctor.)  

Some other points to touch on: 

Missy's tale about the Doctor's battle against invisible androids and his subsequent encounter with vampire monkeys? I want to see those stories, Steven! 

Missy's American southern accent when confronting the Dalek in the sewers of Skaro? Michelle Gomez is off the hook good in this scene and every other thing she does in this episode.  

Colony Saarf was a bit of an off point for the episode. A creepily realized concept in episode one, here he's less impressive. Maybe its because he spends a lot of time hanging around disguised as cables in Davros' lab. Still, I would like to see Colony Saarf again, perhaps in a situation where he takes on an army and we can truly see how effective a being that is a collection of snakes can be.  

Peter Capaldi can rock a pair of shades and I like that we might see more of that in future episodes. But the shades are actually a replacement for the sonic screwdriver? Say it isn't so! Still, Capaldi owns the screen once more, especially in the bit where he confronts the Daleks from Davros' own chair. 

And the confessional dial? Is that going to be a thing moving forward? It seems like a fairly significant plot point not to come up again in the future. 

All in all, The Witch's Familiar is a wrap up that improves upon the already pretty good opening episode.  Can Doctor Who keep that momentum going as we move forward with Series 9? We'll find out next Saturday and I'll be back here with a post about it in this space next Sunday. 

Until then, be good to one another. 

I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Nicknames For the Pope

Oh joy.
Another pope post.
Hey, what can I say? I'm tapped into the zeitgeist!
And if you've ever been tapped into a zeitgeist, you know how painful that can be.
By the time this posts, Pope Francis will be near the end of his star turn in National Lampoon's American Vacation. (Did you miss Beverly D'Angelo's cameo? She's still pretty hot!) During his time of rockin' and holy rollin' in the USA, the Pontiff will hopefully have the chance to experience many landmarks that will give him a taste of life in these United States. Historic landmarks like...
  • Burger King
  • Wendy's
  • KFC
  • Red Lobster
  • Hot dogs from the 7-Eleven
  • Applebee's 
  • McDonald's
  • Cheesecake Factory
  • That little Chinese take out place around the corner from your house.
  • Long John Silver's
  • Taco Bell
  • Dave & Buster's
  • Papa John's (with a perfectly prepared Papal pizza pie!)
And if the Pope starts to miss being in Italy?
  • Olive Garden
 Mama Mia! It'll be just like he's in Rome again!
We'll know if the Pope really got into the American experience if he goes back to the Vatican about 30 to 40 pounds heavier than he left.  

As you know, Secret Service agents were responsible for the Pope's security while in the United States. They like to assign code names to the people they guard. So I've managed to get my hands on the secret list of code names the Secret Service had ready to assign to the Pope during his American visit. So here we go! 

  1. P-Frankie
  2. Pope Daddy
  3. P. F. Thang
  4. Frankenpope
  5. Ope-Pay Ancis-Fray
  6. Frankie Big Hat
  7. Popemeister 
  8. Pope Dude! 
  9. Hokey Popey 
  10. Sir Pope-a-Lot
If perhaps you pine for more Pope ponderings to personally peruse, click here for a parallel post from a previous year  with links to prior posts pertaining to pontification on the personable personage of the pernicious Pope.

Kids, alliteration is a dangerous tool. Do not try that home without the appropriate supervision of a parent, guardian or English professor. 

OK, that's enough damage around here for one day. I'll be back with another post. Yay! Doctor Who time! Look for a review of tonight's new episode, The Witch's Familiar.

Until then, be good to one another.

I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You

Friday, September 25, 2015

Priorities of the Pope

Hi there! Welcome to I’m So Glad My Suffering Amuses You, a blog that wants to make the world a better place but that’s really too much trouble and so never mind. I’m Dave-El, the Pope of the Internet.


Pope Francis was pontiff rocking in the house yesterday where he addressed a joint session of Congress on such trivial matters as keeping the planet from boiling in its own sweat and being helpful to people who need help. Didn’t say a word about homosexuals or abortion and we all know that baby aborting gays are the true threat to the American way of life. That and Mexican Muslims. God help us if they ever join forces. 


How fucked up is the world when then liberal left are going nutsy coo-coo over Pope Francis while the radical right looks at him with the contempt they reserve for tofu, hummus, rice cakes and Jon Stewart? 


The thing is the Pope is not the hemp wearing hippy liberal the far right makes him out to be or the far left wants him to be. When it comes to homosexuals and the reproductive rights of women, Francis has made it clear he’s not overturning the official position of the church. Officially, the Vatican is “No” to gays and “Yes” to women… popping out lots and lots of babies.


But what the Pope has done is move such issues from the front burner to…well, not to the back burner but placed them in Tupperware (sanctified Tupperware, of course) and put them on a shelf in the Pope Pantry.  The positions of the Catholic Church on homosexuality as well as abortion and contraception are still there, their freshness locked in for the next Pope to pop ‘em out and reheat ‘em for a snack.


But Pope Francis thinks there are other issues more worthy of his time and energies  as well as the time and energy of the Church and her followers. Stuff like making sure people have access to food, clean water and medicine. Also shelter, shelter is nice. And schools. People knowing stuff is a good thing.


You know what else is good for people to have? A planet. Pope Francis thinks people are fucking up the climate. Although I’m reasonably sure he probably isn’t using the word “fucking” but I’m sure he  has a comparable word in Latin that sounds all religious-like. The Pope thinks human activity is the cause of climate change and God likes the climate the way it was, thank you very much. He put lot of work into it.


Well, conservatives are hearing all this from the BMOC (Big Man Of Christianity) and they’re thinking, “What’s all this shit? What about the gays? What about the female women of the opposite sex not popping out babies like they’re supposed to? Climate change? Leave that shit to the scientists! Who we don’t listen to either!”


Pope Francis, a college graduate with a degree in science, has an uphill battle trying to save the poor and the planet we all walk upon. How can being in favor of being kind to those in need and being true to our responsibility towards the world God made be points of controversy?


I’m tempted to blame all this on the toxic culture created by Fox News but Jesus had to deal with this same crap 2,000 years ago. But Rupert Murdoch is a very, very, very, very old man so maybe Fox News was around back then.


The constant drumbeat over the last 2 decades has only gotten louder and stronger from the political far right that the poor are leeches and all men are created equal as long as they are literally men and have the right skin color, the right religion and have an overwhelming desire to only have sex with women who have no say in the matter. This is the same political far right that is so firmly aligned with conservative Christians. And then the Pope, sitting at the pinnacle of the Catholic Christian hierarchy, dares to say, “I have different priorities.” How dare he?


Christianity has taken a lot of lumps lately, much of which is self-inflicted. But at the center of this faith, at its most pure and unblemished core, is the fundamental lesson that God so loved the world.


God so loved the world!

Not just your part of the world. Not just your neighborhood. Not just people who look like you. And act like you. God so loved the world! And Pope Francis has the temerity to act like that's his mission also, as much as one man can do, to love the world. All of it. 


Like I said earlier, Pope Francis is not going to make everyone happy. He’s kind of sticking with the company line on gays and women. Maybe in his heart, he’s not content with that status quo but there’s only so much one man, even the Pope, can do without a considerable passage of time. Or maybe he’s totally down with those things as they are. Who knows? The important thing is he’s trying to change the conversation. He’s trying to re-focus the world’s priorities to protect the world that God gave and all the people made in His image. So if you have a Bible on your night stand and a regular spot in a pew on Sunday morning and you think the Pope’s got his priorities messed up, then maybe it’s time to reconsider your priorities.


Everyone, be good to one another. 

Doctor Who: The Dalek Planet - Part Two

DISCLAIMER: I'm doing this for fun, not profit. This is not officially sanctioned by the BBC and the producers of Doctor Who .   I...