It’s stalking me.


This was the sight outside my sister’s back door Saturday afternoon. It doesn’t quite capture the heaviness of the snowfall, nor the sideways angle it took as it fell. But I hope it gives you an idea of the landscape outside, and suggests how I felt when I checked the weather radar and discovered…

…it wasn’t snowing in Detroit.

Fragile paranoiacs have snapped on less evidence.

But like a toddler’s tantrum, the snow was simply gone by 9 a.m. the following day, when it dawned sunny and warm and springlike. Winter always thinks it deserves the last word. It usually gets it.

In this case, it did. Saturday was my sister’s birthday, and we’d planned a standing rib roast with the whole family (meaning, “us, plus my brother”). But brother Charlie got up with a headcold, looked outside and called in sick. So curse you, winter! Because of you, I had pepperoni pizza for dinner Saturday night, instead of roast beef!

I’m sorry he was sick, because one purpose of this trip was to teach Charlie how to use his new computer. His first computer. Yes, his first. And his first after being innocent of pretty much the entire digital revolution. They still exist, these virgins — in this case a small businessman who always found a pencil, paper and calculator adequate to his bookkeeping needs, books and newspapers for his information and a deck of cards for entertainment. I was interested in where we would start, remembering the story a friend of mine told me in the mid-’80s, about a man who came into the Radio Shack where he worked, bought a Tandy and took it home, only to return it the next day. It didn’t work, he said; he’d typed, “How much money should I put into my truck?” into it and hadn’t gotten an answer.

I figured we’d start with the concept of an operating system, progress to files and folders, explain applications and RAM and ROM, and then wing it from there. It’s so hard to learn how to think like a computer. Another late-adopting friend of mine took weeks to learn that e-mail addresses weren’t like U.S. Postal Service addresses — that while you could send a letter to “Mr. Hodson” at such-and-such an address and the Mr. Hudson living there would probably get it, leaving the underscore out of an e-mail address meant it went to the dead-letter office.

Next time, I guess.

Oh, what did he buy, you ask? An iMac G5. I told him it’s like someone who waits until 1960 to see if this horseless-carriage thing is going to last, and then goes out to buy a Porsche.

(By the way, in case you’re wondering, my sister’s getting quotes on having that puddle drained.)

Me, I dealt with the weather in the classic way — retail therapy. I bought an antique glass-doored Mission bookcase, and I told Alan after we reloaded it, “Time to let the well refill.” We got the bass-drum coffee table in place, our framed chart of Lake St. Clair by the back door, our new bookcase, and the house looks like it’s ours, which is to say, it looks occupied by some fairly eccentric people and their goofy dog.

So, bloggage:

Amy is cementing her place as the Only Catholic Blogger Worth Reading by keeping up a fast and furious pace in this inter-papal period, even though she’s on vacation, crazy nut. (She’s no New York Times, which was on strike for the ENTIRE PAPACY of John Paul I. Damn unions.) Her readership is like her — orthodox Catholic — so for the most part I stay out of their discussions, although I dip a foot in every so often. One thing she asked her readers is, what do you hope the outside world sees of the church during this period? I have no answer, but I hope one thing I see is this: More journalism, less bathetic bullshit.

For me, the tone of JP the Deuce coverage was set very early, when my alma mater sent an old Catholic editor to cover his first American tour. My memory is Swiss-cheesey and faulty, but it tells me that every story began the same way: “His face beams love to all who look upon it,” or some such variation on the theme. It continues with the furrowed brows of anchors who don’t know a pope from an ayatollah, and inform me how bad I’m feeling: “The world mourned today for a man whose face beamed love to all who looked upon it.” Nothing queers me on a story faster than being informed of how I’m feeling.

I’ll keep reading Amy. Although I’m sure, sooner or later, she’s going to link to Peggy Noonan.

I really wish these snooty fashion writers would stop hatin’ on my homegirl Camilla. Although the NYT story at least cut her a bit of slack: This type of English countrywoman values looking “practical and tidy” above all else, Ms. Higginson noted. That’s because she often has more important things on her mind than what’s in Vogue this month: caring for her horses, gardening or taking her dogs for a walk. Such women are often great animal lovers, Ms. Higginson said: “Their Labradors and their horses are up there with their husband and their children in their affections.”

Mark my words: This woman’s going to die with more fans than Diana. Maybe not so many gay men, but certainly every woman who’s rather walk a Lab than a red carpet.

Long weekend. Long week ahead. See you then.

Posted at 8:37 pm in Uncategorized |

18 responses to “It’s stalking me.”

  1. Connie said on April 3, 2005 at 10:50 pm

    It’s all pope, all the time. Or perhaps I should say all death and dying all the time. It seemed like as soon as Terri Schiavo died the pope death watch began. Doesn’t it seem like all the tv news has done in the last few weeks is wait for someone’s death? All death watch all the time.

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  2. mary said on April 4, 2005 at 1:06 am

    Don’t forget Jerry Falwell and Prince Rainier. My brother’s mother in law died on Saturday too. She was a really great old Italian lady, who taught me how to make tiny veal meatballs to put in escarole soup. She had been living with my brother and sister in law for a while, Alzheimers making it unsafe for her to live alone. I hadn’t seen her in years, but I sent a bowl of lilies to the funeral home in honor of her patience teaching a WASP to make perfect veal meatballs. Rest in peace, Philomena.

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  3. Jim said on April 4, 2005 at 6:25 am

    I don’t get the whole foolish, fawning of the SCLM, the media that according to the radical right, hates all things religious and godly.

    While there is no doubt that The Pope had traits that endeared him to the faithful, and maybe even those lukewarm Catholics that are plentiful in number, what’s with the media types?

    Granted, CNN, MSNBC, and certainly Fox can’t be called journalistic in the traditional sense, but good lord, the coverage has truly been sickening (like a funeral parlor filled with wilting flowers).

    Is there anyone out there willing to take on the historical revisionists and highlight The Pope’s lack of flexibility on most issues of any magnitude? Birth control, women in the priesthood, gay rights–how about the fact that under his watch, little has been done of any real substance about all the little boys that were “diddled” by his underlings?

    As you can see, I’m no fan of The Pope, certainly not the Church, and to be quite honest, organized religion in general.

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  4. humble reader said on April 4, 2005 at 8:23 am

    Love him or hate him, a man like JPII comes along once every 500 years. That’s why his life/death doesn’t fit the media format. Read the Carl Bernstein and Marco Politi book, His Holiness. Journalism at it’s best.

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  5. Connie said on April 4, 2005 at 8:53 am

    Jim, I’m with you. The Pope is/was/will be completely irrelevant to my life. And BTW, JPII was pope just a week or two longer than I have been married. And I clearly remember walking in an Upper Arlington neighborhood, and hearing church bells begin to chime all around. I said to my companion, “jeez, you’d think the pope had died again.” He had!

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  6. Nance said on April 4, 2005 at 9:03 am

    I neither loved nor hated the Pope (although I loved giving him new nicknames — at the moment I’m fond of Juan Pablo el Segundo). His death is huge news worthy of worldwide attention. I only wish we could be just a bit more BBC about it all. Facts, please. Leave the emoting to others.

    That said, the WSJ had a good Page One analysis today. Can’t link, but worth seeking out.

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  7. danno said on April 4, 2005 at 10:39 am

    I found it a bit disturbing that the day he died I finished The Da Vinci Code (I know…I’m behind the times). The odd thing was, I had no idea what the book was about until I started reading it the day before. It is just too bad that neither Notre Dame’s mens or womens teams were playing in the Final Fours, what a heyday the sports writers would have had!! Notre Dame Upsets The Vols…The Pope’s Last Miracle?!

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  8. Dorothy said on April 4, 2005 at 10:54 am

    Connie – my own Pope memory has to do when JPII was elected. My husband has a Polish surname, so of course I called him to tell him they’d just elected a new Pope- and he was Polish!! His reply? “Okay, what’s the punch line?” That’s what comes from a lifetime of hearing one Polish joke after another, I guess.

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  9. juan said on April 4, 2005 at 11:22 am

    RE: Camilla

    Being Charles’s most popular spouse is a bit like being the world’s tallest midget.

    Mayhaps she is a wonderful person with a great heart, but I don’t want to see her face on the TV when I have food in my mouth. That woman is gorilla-ugly. I’d sooner watch Janet Reno featured on “G-String Divas.”

    Okay… Just grossed myself out.

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  10. jrae said on April 4, 2005 at 12:34 pm

    I really don’t get the aversion to Camilla–especially the constant criticism of her looks. I mean, really, doesn’t she seem like a fairly normal-looking person. No beauty, certainly, but how good would most of us look on TV?

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  11. Loulou said on April 4, 2005 at 1:01 pm

    Nancy, I’m trying to teach an 80yr old lady to log on and use email. She always wants to sit and watch me, even if I’m downloading something, which is a bit like watching paint dry. But I applaud her intent.// As a practising Catholic myself, I often wonder if anyone but me notices that there are no longer whole pews filled with one family, and if anyone, especially in the hierarchy has wondered if fertility has dropped, or…American Catholics are a different breed of cat. If a nation is founded on the rights of the individual then obedience is hardly to be expected. I only hope Ratzinger doesn’t get elected. There’s one candidate looks jolly like John 23rd, maybe lightning will strike twice?

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  12. Dorothy said on April 4, 2005 at 1:14 pm

    Loulou – at my previous church in Ohio we had numerous “whole pews filled with one family.” Our first week at that church I saw one family with 8 children, and the mom was pregnant. She had baby #10 about 5 months before we moved away from there. There were lots more families with at least 4 or 5 children there.

    I was always astonished to see this in the year 2002 (when we moved there). Coming from a family of ten children myself, I had mixed feelings about seeing such large families still in existence. I get along great with all my siblings, and I’ll always be grateful to my parents for the sacrifices they made. However, I know how much more expensive things are these days, and I wonder how in the world these young families subsist.

    Re: Camilla – I agree with jrae – she is just average looking. And so am I. Compared to Diana, of course Camilla is far less easy on the eyes. But I think everyone should just let them be happy at last. It’s obvious they’ve been in love for a long time. Isn’t that what everyone is looking for? Forever love?

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  13. RJ said on April 4, 2005 at 1:25 pm

    It does feels anachronistic to see the MSM so chivalrous towards the Pope given our irreverent age. I’m not surprised it’s having a backlash among the secular-minded. Given the religious divide in ths country the MSM is in a tough position, damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

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  14. Mindy said on April 4, 2005 at 1:58 pm

    Mozart’s Requiem Mass has been on the radio for the last hour. Alright, already! Geeeez.

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  15. juan said on April 4, 2005 at 4:39 pm

    Someone once gave me a dog as ugly as Camilla.

    I shaved it’s ass and taught it to walk backwards.

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  16. Nance said on April 4, 2005 at 5:34 pm

    Well, far be it from me to interrupt life on the Planet of the Supermodels, but she looks like a pretty run-of-the-mill 50something outdoorswoman to me.

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  17. mary said on April 4, 2005 at 6:31 pm

    She looks like a lot of the ladies one sees at dog shows. I don’t think she’s ugly, she’s just a well to do looking mid fiftiesh lady. Half of Fairfield County, Connecticut looks like that.

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  18. ashley said on April 5, 2005 at 5:16 am

    Here is an excellent article about the pope’s stance on capitalism and free markets…and why, ultimately, they don’t work.

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