Monday, April 04, 2005

I'm a sinner

I've committed a serious sin against the internet. I forgot the prime directive of "If you don't have anything interesting or original to contribute, keep your goddman piehole shut." The previous entry was not neither interesting nor original. It did not say anything that hasn't been said a million times before, and it didn't even succeed in saying the same old shit in a new and creative way. It was crap. As is the following entry (see, I actually don't believe in the concept of sin. I put this crap out there, and you are perfectly capable of ignoring it. If you waste your life reading it, it's your own fucking fault), but at least this one's a schoche more upbeat.

I spent a really nice weekend with Marley. Since he's getting hitched in a year, there won't be many more opportunities to spend with him and him alone before he's legally half a two-being unit. We hung out in a pretty good imitation of an Irish pub and listened to some cracking good Irish rock (well, the band claimed it was Irish rock. I wouldn't know Irish rock from Irish marble, but it sounded good) and drank some Guinness (possibly a significant part of why the band sounded good). We went to a car show, got smug about my Prius, hissed at the guys admiring the new H2 (if you want a hummer, pay for a hummer - don't go buying a godawful over-priced car), and had Indian food for dinner. (There isn't a single Indian resturaunt in 30 miles of where I live, and I've had a craving for lamb tikka massala for months.) We watched Sideways (good flick about male self-image. Bit of a cross between Thelma and Louise and the Full Monty. go watch it.) We hung out in microbreweries and had really good fucking stout (spanks Guinness, i shit you not) and a really good fucking time. It was great to have my old brother back. I'm rather sick of this guy who coos and pets his frail fiance and her frail ego. He's boisterous and witty and easy-going, and generally a lot of fun. I'm afraid that guy is going to die forever next April and we'll never get him back. Carpe diem, i s'pose.

The pope's finally dead. (how's that for total lack of transition? (unless you consider 2 words in Latin a sufficient seguay to the death of the pontif) ) Can't say I'm terribly broken up about it. Mostly I'm terrified of whoever's coming next. I thought JPII was way too conservative, but I have a sinking feeling the next guy will be even worse. John XXIII. Now THERE was a pope. Too bad they poisoned him. I don't go to church anymore, being genrally fed-up with Catholicism, so I'm feeling rather emotionally detached from all this, but I do follow the proceedings with historical interest. I've never lived through the death of a pope, and I've only heard stories about how the college elects the next one, so this is all rather new for me. It's all terribly in-bred. The pope picks the cardinals and the cardinals pick the pope. Imagine if the president picked the supreme court and the supreme court picked the president. (well, we don't really have to imagine that, do we?) Talk about a circle-jerk. No wonder it's impossible to get any reforms through. I figure the next pope will be crazy conservative (JPII garunteed that when he chaged the rules for electing the next pope) and will cause a schism. I think a bunch of Americans will separate from the church in the next pope's reign.

It used to be that a 2/3 majority was needed in the college of cardinals to choose a new pope. JPII changed the rule. Now, if after 40 ballots (they cast 3 ballots a day) a 2/3 majority has not been reached, a simple majority will be sufficient. That gives a stubborn faction of the cardinals a tremendous amout of power. If there is a group of them that wants a particular candidate, and they have a simple majority, all they have to do is hold out for 14 days and they win. There's no longer any incentive to have honest debate or compromise. And since JPII's been in power for so long, he's pretty well stacked the college, so it's basically guarenteed that whoever he chose for his successor will get in. The question is, who is it? The college must being casting ballots between 15 and 20 days after the death of the pope (a centuries-old rule that made it easy for italians to control the church. Think about it: 200 years ago it would have taken weeks for the news of the popes death to reach across Europe. By the time the cardinals heard and made it to Rome, the new pope had been selected). Karol died on Saturday. This means that they must begin casting ballots between the 17th and 23rd of April. If they wait til the latest possible date to begin (which they won't), 14 days after that is 7th of May. There will be a new pope by May 7 at the absolute latest. I predict it will be sooner. I also predict the new pope will have strong ties to a 3rd world nation, and will be extremely conservative. I think that any and all chances we may have had of getting a pope who will at least entertain the possibility of female clergy, married clergy, and changing the church's stance on birth control has gone completely out the window. (Did you know that John XXIII was about to sign a writ authorizing Catholics to use condoms to prevent pregnancy when he died suddenly? There's a bit of trivia for you.)

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