Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Pope Dope

So when I was over there at news.com.au trying to figure out all of the insanity around their fairy tale warning labels, I saw this link: 10 Things About The Pope Well, that sounded good. I don't know a lot about Popes. When Pope John Paul II was around, you couldn't help but know stuff about him. Usually it was only the basics (rides around in the Popemobile, got shot once, is Catholic, etc.) but at least it was something. But the new guy? I don't know that much about him. (Obviously. I mean, I called him 'the new guy'.) So what am I going to learn? "Find out the Pope's position on the big issues including: cats vs dogs, beer or wine and what sport is best. " Wait What?

Cats and dogs? That's a "big issue" that I need to know where the Pope stands?! It IS?? Wow. Things sure have changed since the Pope days of yore as I knew them. I guess I'd better get busy and starting learning a few things about...what's his name again? Man, John Paul II was easy to remember, but this guy...it always takes me a minute. Oh, wait. Got it. Pope Eggs Benedict Arnold. That's right. ( You'd think I'd remember that. It's rather unusual.)
  • He's may be Pope Benedict XVI, but he's going to be known as Pope 2.0 pretty soon as he's the first Pope to use a cell phone. (And I am dying to know who the POPE calls!) The Pope has an iPod engraved with his coat of arms. (Fancy.) He has an online fan club. Pope 2.0 also emails. (And, similar to my question about the cell phone, WHO is he emailing?)

  • The Pope plays the piano and likes classical music - particularly Mozart, Bach and Beethoven. (Is anyone shocked by his tastes in music? Not that there's anything wrong with that, I'm just saying. Though I don't really see how this is a "big issue" that the teaser headline implied I'd be learning about.)

  • Good news! (I guess. I don't know.) The Pope likes cats! He never actually HAD a cat when he was growing up, BUT he and his brother Georg fed stray cats. They also collected cat plates (which, for the purposes of the article, apparently, lends credibility to the Pope being a "cat lover").
  • The Pope sports some mighty spiffy looking (and kinda gay looking) red shoes which are reminiscent of Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz". Apparently, the red shoes have not been seen in the Pope-dom since "the early days of Pope John Paul II" (so, what? 1980? Oooh.) Somewhere along the line, it became rumored that the shoes were Prada (which, I guess, is a big deal in the fashion world. I find it hard to believe it would be a big deal in the Pope world.). Turn out, the media got that one wrong (shocker, I know) and the red shoes were made by Gepetto the Pope's personal cobbler.

  • The Pope loves beer and Franziskaner Weissbeer is his favorite. .He also likes lemonade, according to the article. (One has nothing to do with the other. I don't know why they threw in the lemonade part. I'm now anticipating learning of his favorite food, his favorite movie and whether or not he watches "Wheel of Fortune".) Here's to you, Mister Long Robes, Red Shoes, Papal Pope Guy.

  • The Pope likes soccer! The Pope wants soccer to be his ambassador to the world. Wait. What? He has said, "I'd like the game of football to be a vehicle for the education of the values of honesty, solidarity and fraternity, especially among younger generations." And HOW is it going to do that, exactly?

  • The Pope always wanted to be a cardinal. We're going to have to assume that means the religious figure and not the bird. (But does that mean he doesn't want to be Pope? Or does it mean he still wants to be a bird?).

  • Joseph Ratzinger, the father of the Pope, was a police officer in Bavaria (home of the cream pie). The Pope's brother Georg is a priest. The Pope's sister Maria died in 1991. (Didn't Joseph Ratzinger play Cliff on 'Cheers'? Wait, that was John Ratzenberger. Never mind. So close.)

  • German politician Georg Ratzinger was the Pope's uncle. (Hey, we ran out of the "big issues" we were supposed to be learning about right after...oh....looks like we haven't learned anything about the "big issues". But we have learned plenty about the mundane and idiotic issues and there's still one to go!)

  • In 1943, the Pope was drafted into the German army. He was also in the Hitler Youth movement. (While being in something called the "Hitler Youth Movement" does sound bad, it's not quite as bad as it sounds. It was pretty much mandatory for German youths to sign up/enroll in the Hitler Youth Movement, so he kind of didn't really choose that for himself.

  • While in the Hitler Youth Movement, the Pope learned the following skills: Marching, bayonet drills, grenade throwing, trench digging, map reading, gas defenses, use of dugouts, how to get under barbed wire and pistol shooting. All of which I'm sure will come in mighty handy now that he's Pope.

  • And even though it says that they learned pistol shooting, the Pope did not because he had an infected finger. (The Pope sounds like he might have been a little wussy as a lad.)

OK, so that told us nothing about the "big issues". It barely told us anything about issues. It sort of implied that the Pope might have some issues, but that still wasn't the intended purpose. It did tell us more than we needed to know or wanted to know about the Pope himself, though. I'm going to just add a few of my own to this seemingly random selection of papal facts here, just to round off the list a bit.

  • The Pope bears a striking resemblance to Uncle Fester from The Addams Family.

  • With outfits like this one, it's entirely possible that the Pope is Amish. Gay and Amish.

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