I don’t care what anybody says; I’m going to call the new Pope “Joey Ratz” until I get tired of it. This is one side effect of having “The Sopranos” on on-demand cable.
Oy, but it’s going to be a long day. I can feel it already, and it’s barely begun. Last night’s rowing class hit new levels of torture, and the teacher said the real pain lies ahead. I was physically exhausted in that way that makes it hard to sleep, which means I pushed too hard, but after my sedentary winter, it felt good to push. Until it didn’t, alas. My form still needs work, in case you’re interested. Sure you are.
A long, grueling day is probably payback for yesterday, which was a beautiful, non-grueling one, topped by a return to Ann Arbor. I asserted alumni privilege to attend a seminar at Wallace House with none other than Susan Orlean, who is in the very select and small group of journalists to be portrayed by a fabulously beautiful Hollywood actor. Her talk was very good and, like all W.H. events, off the record, so I can’t repeat her very funny anecdote about what it was like to read the “Adaptation” script for the first time. If you ever run into her, ask her to tell it.
This is the last week of this year’s fellowship, and the current class had the look I expected — still cheery, but with a slowly dawning realization that time advances in tidy 24-hour segments, and midnight is approaching, and the coach is about to turn back into a pumpkin. I should have told them what another alumnus told our class in October, back when we were still giddy: “Start the Prozac at the beginning of April. It takes about a month to kick in.”
So, then. Bloggage: Today is the first full day of the papacy of Joey Ratz, which means only a few hundred thousand words have been written about him so far. Before you bother to plow through the ignorant, uninformed ones, check out this profile of the man by John Allen, Vatican correspondent for National Catholic Reporter. Allen’s been turning up here and there on mainstream media in the last couple weeks, and strikes me as that rarity of rarity among religious journalists: A journalist. Level-headed, fair and free of ax/grindstone. Worth the time, if things like that interest you.
I’m frequently in agreement with James Wolcott, but not on his recommendation of “House” as “the best new series on TV.” I’ve been watching “House,” which I prefer to call by Heather Havrilesky’s suggestion, “Dr. Grumpy Pants,” mainly because it comes on after “American Idol” and by that hour, I’ve lost the impulse to look for something better. Wolcott’s right that Hugh Laurie does a great job with the lead role, but the rest of it makes me purely insane. I’m enough of a journalist that I have a limit to how much disbelief I can suspend, and “House” takes place in yet another Fantasy Hospital, where great-looking doctors sit around brainstorming on diagnoses, while Laurie fills his down time treating run-of-the-mill patients whose major complaint is they have this lump. Just once I want Laurie to say, “Your problem is, you have a subplot growing in your abdomen, and it needs to be removed.”
Last night was it for me. Now it’s HBO series, “Idol” and nothing else. I’d be better off writing.
One of the many tricks my dog can do — all of which involve barking — is this: If you say “bow wow wow,” he’ll bark back at you. Usually three times, which I think is really funny, but admittedly in a you-have-to-be-there sort of way:
“Bow wow wow!”
“Bark bark bark!”
So the other day I was walking through the house, singing “Atomic Dog,” which we all know has a great chorus: “Bow wow wow yippee yo yippee yay bow wow yippee yo yippee yay.” And my own atomic dog took up the call. I think “Atomic Dog” should be his theme song. Joel Achenbach asks, “What’s yours?” And yes, one of his commenters calls him on stealing ideas from Ally McBeal.
Sure, its frivolous and frothy, but once you’ve plowed through that Joey Ratz profile, you’re going to need it.
Dorothy said on April 20, 2005 at 9:36 am
I watched the first 3 or 4 episodes of “House”, trying to get absorbed by it. But after awhile I could no longer believe that there are so many maladies in the world that would cause these doctors so much consternation, and subsequent travels down the back alleys of medicine to discover the root cause and cure. It seemed like the same story over and over. I decided enough was enough, and gave up. I like Hugh Laurie – we own the Blackadder series on DVD partly because of him – but the new series just left me cranky. Just like his character.
wade said on April 20, 2005 at 9:52 am
Preceeding me into the room would be Built for Comfort, Not For Speed , penned by Howlin’ Wolf but perhaps best rendered by Taj Mahal on the elpee Oh, So Good n’ Blues.
And the new pontiff? “RAAATZINGERRRRRRRRR!”, ala Jon Stewart (or Shatner in Iowa, fists raised in a crane shot)…
ashley said on April 20, 2005 at 12:24 pm
As a guy with a bunch of stainless and titanium in his lower legs, I just couldn’t get over the fact that the guy playing the lead character either a) limps on the wrong leg, or b) carries his cane in the wrong hand.
Deal breaker, sorry.
That, and the fact that some fools claim that this is the best show on television. Har. That, my friends, is an honor reserved for the recently saved “The Wire”.
Can I get an Amen on that?
Dorothy said on April 20, 2005 at 12:27 pm
Amen and an Alleluia for good measure!
Kevin said on April 20, 2005 at 12:32 pm
Thank you for the link to the John Allen article. Very interesting — I did not realize that Ratzinger’s favorite breakfast cereal is CoCo Pebbles.
It was only after I read through virtually the entire article did I realize that the expose’ was written well before Ratzinger morphed into Benedict. Then again, no one has ever accused me of being too bright.
As evidence of my perpetual density, I first heard of Ratzinger when the whole Curran, Catholic University thing hit the fan. Before that time I did not know that the Catholic Church had a specific person appointed as guardian of orthodoxy. I don’t think that revelation makes me particularly dense. My stupidity is evidenced by the fact that when I first heard of Ratzinger I was certain that this person who enforced Catholic dogma had the same last name as the actor who played Cliff Claven on Cheers. So, after that point in time whenever I heard of Ratzinger (which admittedly, was not very often), I thought of Cliff Claven being in charge of Catholic dogma — the world-wide enforcer of Catholic teaching. In a weird way, I thought that seemd pretty cool and appropriate.
It was only after Ratzinger donned his new pointy hat,his cool new threads, and changed his name did I realize that the actor who played Cliff Claven is John Ratzenberger, not Ratzinger.
4dbirds said on April 20, 2005 at 12:37 pm
I’m always amazed that the docs on House are always wrong at least twice before they make the right diagnosis and by then have pumped in dangerous drugs or performed useless/life-threatening/painful procedures on these poor folks. When my daughter was being treated for her leukemia, it quickly became apparent that many tests and procedures were simply learning experiences for the residents. I edumacated myself and put a halt to bull*&^* procedures. I also didn’t allow certain heavy handed and jerk doctors to get anywhere near her. Woe to the patient who isn’t or doesn’t an an advocate.
mary said on April 20, 2005 at 1:27 pm
Ditto on the thumbs down on House. Hugh Laurie is engaging, but I’m with you on the plausibility factor, the predictability of the plots, all that other stuff. It bites. I did watch it for the same reason as you, Nance. It was on after Idol, and I was too lazy to change the channel.
Speaking of Idol, is there anyone else out there who thinks that Paula Abdul’s behavior is chemically altered?
4dbirds said on April 20, 2005 at 1:35 pm
Yes Mary, what is up with Paula Abdul? She seems drunk or high.
mary said on April 20, 2005 at 1:44 pm
She nearly fell over last week while leaning on her desk or whatever that thing they sit behind is, and she slurs her words sometimes. I can understand the need to throw back a few after being on that show for four years or whatever it is, and sitting between those two guys.
Nance said on April 20, 2005 at 2:10 pm
Yes, I think Paula is a woman who loves her pharmacist and liquor-store clerk too much. You’d have to be loaded to blubber over some of the performances the way she does. And when she stands up and claps! Just like a drunk in a bar! Simon looks mortified.
The lost opportunity of “House” is this: There’s probably a good show to be made about the puzzle of medical diagnostics. It really is an art, taking a mixed grill of symptoms and figuring out just what, exactly, is the problem. Is a headache a hangover or a brain tumor? However, diagnosis is mainly thinking. Solving a puzzle. Not a lot of action there, and it can’t be made up by doing the zoom-down-the-ear-canal “CSI” trick. For better or (lately, much) worse, “ER” is probably the most realistic medical show on TV, even though it sometimes seems no one is admitted to that hospital the old-fashioned way — by their doctor. No, whether it’s a head cold or a breech delivery, they all go through the ER. Please.
joodyb said on April 20, 2005 at 6:59 pm
How handsome sprig’s new do is.
mary said on April 20, 2005 at 10:26 pm
Sophie, the same late dog who rolled in fish emulsion, used to sing along with the “wo wo wo wo” part of the song “Volare.” You might try it on Sprig. With a hairstylist named Stefano, he might have an affinity for things Italian.
mrs. norman maine said on April 21, 2005 at 9:51 am
I am chagrined to say that I saw on one of those “Excess: Hollywood” shows that Paula is going to be featured in People Magazine, blubbering about the physical pain she’s been through — which would explain the pain killers — but somehow denying that she’s not chemically enhanced.
In for a penny, in for a pound: Did y’all know that the fabulous Nadia and the hideous babymamma-beater Scott are an item? Ewwww.