My parents were Catholic and we were raised that way, but we weren’t Pope People. Which is to say, we knew who the Pope was (one of the Johns. I think.), but we didn’t pay him enough respect, if by “respect,” you mean “attention.” Granted, John was not a rock-star Pope, but the idea of my own mother calling him “the Holy Father” and sighing over his personal appearances is incomprehensible to me, and needless to say, there were no Peggy Noonans in the house:

When I was writing a book about John Paul, I’d ask those who’d met him or saw him go by: What did you think, or say? And they’d be startled and say, “I don’t know, I was crying.”


I remember Juan Pablo the Deuce’s first U.S. tour. The Columbus Dispatch send one of its star writer/editors to cover it. From her exhaustive reports, I learned that love beamed from the man’s face, and that everywhere he went, people felt the love. But Noonan is a serious Catholic intellectual, right? So, as we await Benedict XVI, what might we expect, Peggy?

Benedict… is the perfect pope for the Internet age. He is a man of the word. You download the text of what he said, print it, ponder it.

This is what I saw as his popemobile came close by in the square: tall man, white hair, shy eyes, deep-set. He is waving, trying to act out pleasure at being the focus of all eyes, center stage. He is not a showman but a scholar, an engaged philosopher nostalgic for the days – he has spoken of them – when he was a professor in a university classroom, surrounded by professors operating in a spirit of academic camaraderie and debate. But, his friends tell you, he enjoys being pope. He has become acclimated.

There is a sweetness about him – all in the Vatican who knew him in the old days speak of it – and a certain vagueness, as if he is preoccupied.

What is it about the Vicar of Christ that he brings out the swoon in middle-aged women? But what, Peggy, is Benedict likely to say?

Perhaps some variation on themes from his famous Regensburg address, in September 2006.

There he traced and limned some of the development of Christianity, but he turned first to Islam. Faith in God does not justify violence, he said. “The right use of reason” prompts us to understand that violence is incompatible with the nature of God, and the nature, therefore, of the soul. God, he quotes an ancient Byzantine ruler, “is not pleased by blood,” and “not acting reasonably is contrary to God’s nature.” More: “To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm.” This is a message for our time, and a courageous one, too. (The speech was followed by riots and by Osama bin Laden’s charge that the pope was starting a new “crusade.”)

There you have it. Folks, this is what we call a clip job. Plus a lot of swooning.

As for me, I’m going to follow the visit through the NYT’s Pope blog, to which Fort Wayne’s own Amy Welborn is contributing. Go, Amy.

Folks, I slept late today, and now I’m behind. Content yourself with some bloggage while I finish my taxes and drink the last of this morning’s coffee over ice:

No links in this one, but you get the gist. From the Will You Damn Kids Leave Me Alone file, via Brian:

Logansport woman reported missing by her son

A Logansport woman has been reported missing by her son and police are interested in talking to anyone who may have seen her.

Kim S. Steele, 41, was last seen on Thursday, just before meeting a man she had recently met through an Internet chat room. Repeated calls to her cell phone by friends, family and the Logansport police have gone unanswered.

…According to a police report, Steele left without extra clothing or personal items. The last contact she had with anyone was her son, who told police she was on her way to help move a trailer or camper with man from the Internet. Investigators have entered her name into a national database for missing person.


Woman reported missing had been camping

The Logansport woman reported missing by her son turned up late this morning.

Kim S. Steele, 41, had been camping out of town with her new boyfriend — the man she met through an Internet chat room. Steele told police her cell phone went dead and that’s why she had not returned the numerous calls made by her family, friends and Logansport police.

When she came into Logansport today, she saw the newspaper article and reported to police that she was all right.

Well, I guess it beats rotting in a ditch for two months until someone says, “Has anyone heard from Nance lately?”

Alan had to edit “MILF” out of a story a couple years ago — those sneaky reporters! — and at the time I think he was one of the very few who knew what a MILF was. Now it’s everywhere.

Hey, it’s J.C.’s birthday! Let’s steal some of his bandwidth:


No, I guess it’s Flickr’s bandwidth. Sign at the Buford Highway Farmers Market, Doraville, Ga., which you may know as “a touch of country in the city.”

Coffee’s done. Off to the bank.

Posted at 11:29 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

29 responses to “Popestock.”

  1. Adrianne said on April 11, 2008 at 11:48 am

    I have to say, as a Catholic at the epicenter of Pope Benny’s visit this month, there is a distinct lack of excitement about his visit. Just this week, the Archdiocese of New York was flogging tickets to stand OUTSIDE St. Patrick’s Cathedral and watch the Pope celebrate Mass on the Jumbotron. There were not many takers. He’s no JPII, that’s for sure. I think American Catholics have figured out that he’s a transitional figure who’s going to be gone from this green earth soon.

    BTW, I watched “MILF Island” episode with three teen-age boys last night. Mercifully, not one of them asked me what the initials stood for.

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  2. John said on April 11, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    Adrianne, the reason why they didn’t ask is because they already know.

    I refuse to watch any “reality” program as it is beyond dreck. I know because I get my reality show dosage from Talk Soup. But, if MILF Island should ever hit the airwaves, I would be front and center watching it.

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  3. brian stouder said on April 11, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    here’s the link to the police blotter, for the lady who hooked- up and then got to read about it in the paper, with the rest of the town!


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  4. Jolene said on April 11, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    Years ago, I was living in AZ when JP II visited Phoenix. Commenting on a news report about the thousands expected to come to see him celebrate mass in a stadium, I said that I couldn’t imagine the people in the plain vanilla Methodist church I grew up in — or any other Methodist church — coming in droves to see and hear a church leader. “No,” he said, “not even if John Wesley himself arose from the grave.”

    On the other hand, I envied the rituals and religious objects of my Catholic schoolmates. We had a couple of modest stained-glass windows, but they had lots more — also holy water, velvet-covered kneelers, medals worn on chains around their necks, rosaries, genuflecting, crossing themselves, ashes on their foreheads, Lenten sacrifices, dietary rules, and religious leaders dressed in special clothes. I don’t think I was Noonanesque, but there was a romance about these (to me) exotic customs and objects.

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  5. john c said on April 11, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    I saw JP the Deuce at Madison Square Garden whenever he came to New York (late 70s?). I remember being impressed. But not THAT impressed. People around me sure were, though. At least the adults. The whole infallibility deal is one of the pages in the Catholic book that I sort of flip past. I’ve studied enough history to know that a lot of bad dudes somehow managed to get that job. I’m sure in some peoples’ minds that makes me not a Catholic. They are right in the juvenile, it’s-our-club-and-we-get-to-make-up-the-rules sense. Me? I know I’m Catholic.
    I will say this, though. When I was in Belfast interviewing unionists at a rally for a murderer who’d just been furloughed from prison for a few days, it pissed me off when people started chanting “F#&k the Pope!”

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  6. alex said on April 11, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    Here’s betting Michael Sneed recycles her favorite subhead in the Sun-Times that she uses in her gossip column whenever the Pope visits: Papal Poop…

    I’d say MILF was ready for prime time a few years ago. I was in an advertising class where the assignment was to come up with ideas for a high-fashion maternitywear retailer. One student’s headline that got plaudits from the instructors, who say the generational divide has now swung in favor of the frankness of the young: Got MILF?

    (They also said tampons and diapers schlurping up blue liquid will be a thing of the past; “People want to know how well these products absorb blood and piss, not Windex.” One of the instructors worked on the oh-so-controversial Kotex red-dot-Period campaign, which was actually quite lame in comparison to a British ad which literally parts a Red Sea.)

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  7. Harl Delos said on April 11, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    Adrianne, the reason why they didn’t ask is because they already know.

    And if they don’t, the answer to the question can be “Mothers I’d Like as Friends”.

    VERY close friends, but friends, none the less. Exposing the naughty bits to someone who is hostile to you isn’t a smart idea.

    for the lady who hooked- up and then got to read about it in the paper, with the rest of the town!

    There are only 40,000 people in Cass County. I suspect a quarter of the folk in Logansport within 10 years of Kim Steele’s age either already know her, or know of her.

    She might want to give her kid a whack up aside the head with her open palm, but after all, she had more to do with the IQ he inherited than he did.

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  8. Sue said on April 11, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    Jolene: if you are of a certain age, your classmates might also have had lots of holy cards (with indulgences!), which were given to good children by priests and nuns. Also, buying pagan babies and getting to name them. The down side of all this coolness was that we knew, every day, that we as Catholic children would be marked for death when the communists came.

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  9. Peter said on April 11, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    Well, here goes:

    Pope Experience: When JPII visited Chicago many years ago, I went to the outdoor mass – after all, if the Big Guy can make it all the way to Grant Park, the least I could do as a dues paying member is take the train over and take in the event.

    When he started the homily, I thought that he sounded just like my chemistry teacher, and I started thinking about organic compounds, alkali earths, and noble gases. Next thing you know, he’s done with the homily, and the lady next to me was crying, “wasn’t that just wonderful! it was like hearing the voice of God!” and I’m thinking that I didn’t pay attention to a single word he said, and this isn’t going to look good when I get judged…

    Adrianne – So my twelve year old noticed that my middle aged coworker put her hair up, and later on told me that it was a pretty good look that “makes her milf worthy, if you ask me”, and I don’t know if I should smack him for objectifying women or compliment him on appreciating a wider range of women.

    Jolene – I know what you mean about the romance of religous objects. I know this sounds sick, but when I was in my teens I heard that Mormon women need to wear official underwear, and that non-Mormons should never see that underwear (which is why you don’t see Mormon women wearing off the shoulder items), and OF COURSE I became obsessed about it. And of course, thanks to the Internet, I can probably find a file of some MILF having the time of her life wearing Mormon underwear, but I think it could be a tremendous disappointment, so I haven’t looked.

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  10. Edward Carney said on April 11, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    Swooning is the mot juste. “Traced and limned,” indeed! It’s enough to give one the vapors.

    >Well, I guess it beats rotting in a ditch for two months until
    >someone says, “Has anyone heard from Nance lately?”

    I had tears in my eyes at this one, Nance.

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  11. Harl Delos said on April 11, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    “No,” he said, “not even if John Wesley himself arose from the grave.”

    Part of that is that the real leaders in a Methodist church are lay persons. When I lived in Cincinnati, I went to Hyde Park UMC, and Emerson Colaw was the head pastor. He was elevated to Bishop, and the pastoral-parish relations committee did a nationwide search for a new pastor.

    That’s NOT how it’s done in the Methodist church; normally, the bishop assigns the pastors for all the churches in the conference. OTOH, Hyde Park was so large and influential, they were allowed to do this. It seems Hyde Park frequently was the last church served by a pastor before he became a bishop.

    Yet Dr. Colaw didn’t get a tenth of the attention Rick Hawks got as minister of Blackhawk Baptist.

    Wesley taught that the pastor was a simple servant, and the real work was done by the congregation – an army of believers. I suspect that part of it was the First Commandment – hero worship of Methodist clergy is not acceptable. That philosophy seems to hold with most of the mainline protestant churches. In fact, the Salvation Army seems to have grown from that metaphor – it was founded by William Booth, who previously had been a Methodist minister.

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  12. Jolene said on April 11, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    Pagan babies! I hadn’t actually heard of them until graduate school. I grew up in a very small town in ND where there were no Catholic schools, but, in grad school, I became friends w/ a woman who was immersed (she would say nearly drowned) in Catholicism. She reported that they named their pagan babies Jacqueline Bouvier or John Fitzgerald — clear evidence that my friend is of a certain age.

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  13. Harl Delos said on April 11, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    Google image search:
    Results 1 – 20 of about 3,190 for milf mormon underwear. (0.10 seconds)

    And yeah, it’s fairly disappointing.

    was on the second page. Fairly milf-worthy, but she’s fully clothed, and you don’t see any underwear.

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  14. Kirk said on April 11, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    Made me look, Harl.

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  15. Sue said on April 11, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    Here’s something for your Will You Damn Kids Leave Me Alone file: several years back when my daughter was teasing me about putting me in a nursing home at the first opportunity, I said, “Only if you promise not to visit me”. Her reaction was hilarious, and I quote: “What?… Hey!”

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  16. Dexter said on April 11, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    I grew up Methodist, Jolene, and I didn’t understand why only Catholics got to have those cool St. Christophers on their dashboards. Even today I sometimes listen to Catholic radio on the shortwave set. A year ago I found a chaplet in a parking lot and I had to research to find out what it is…now it’s on my key chain.
    Anyway, when I was a lad Pope John XXIII was in Rome. I recall how sad I was at his passing, as I learned of the white smoke procedure , and I just didn’t like Pope Paul VI…no reason except I missed the Santa Claus-y John XXIII, in my kid’s- mind.
    I did pause to consider the meaning of and reason why Pope JohnXXIII’s bones were brought out and paraded around the Basilica a few years ago, with a wax-head of the late pope…but that’s just the way “they” do things . In 2001 The Vatican exhumed the body and found it “remarkable preserved” after being at rest for 37 years. (Pope John XXIII was pope from 1958 to 1963.)
    I think Pope John Paul lasted a month and you all know the rest of the story.
    I also carry a medallion , Mary Mother of God, in silver, hammered out in Mexico.
    And John Wesley is still a-moulderin’ in the grave, and I haven’t been to a Methodist service since 1964.

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  17. JGW said on April 11, 2008 at 3:27 pm

    Still wondering what context the reporter in question was using “MILF.” Was he just being descriptive, or was it in a quote, like, “yeah, she is a real MILF so I’m not surprised by this.”
    If it was a quote I vote it makes it in print, after all we’re subjected to baby bumps and bling. I hate bling.

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  18. nancy said on April 11, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    It was in reference to an actress. Sela Ward, if you’re curious. Quite the MILF, most would agree:

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  19. John said on April 11, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    Thank you Nancy, inquiring minds wanted to know.

    Around this joint with as much carping there is when you don’t post by 10:30, there is no way you would be lying in a ditch for two weeks without someone noticing.

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  20. nancy said on April 11, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    Oh, and as far as pagan babies go, Gregg Sutter has the best pagan-baby story EVAR.

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  21. Sue said on April 11, 2008 at 4:10 pm

    I can see the newspaper story now: “Concerned readers from around the United States and Canada bombarded the Grosse Pointe Police Department with calls today demanding that a search party be sent out immediately for local resident Nancy Nall Derringer. The readers were irritated that she hadn’t posted on her blog that day and thought she may have gone and gotten herself hurt or something. Ms. Nall Derringer was found safe and sound, contemplating taking a shower as she made coffee after sleeping in. It is unknown at this time what method Ms. Nall Derringer will use to rip her readers a new one.”

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  22. Deborah said on April 11, 2008 at 8:53 pm

    I’m sorry to be so uninformed but I can’t figure out what MILF means. Will someone kindly let me know? Mothers I’d like to F____? Menopause Is Lots of Fun? Please?

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  23. nancy said on April 11, 2008 at 9:56 pm

    The first one, yes. Hot women of a certain age. Preferably in Land’s End swimsuits.

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  24. joodyb said on April 11, 2008 at 10:02 pm

    omg. i so needed that sutter story today. thanks.

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  25. Harl Delos said on April 12, 2008 at 12:22 am

    Preferably in Land’s End swimsuits.

    A poll of the men in my neighborhood indicates 7-2 that they like nothing better than Land’s End swimsuits.

    The 2 that voted against MILFs wearing nothing? They live together, and watch a lot of BravoTV.

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  26. Dexter said on April 13, 2008 at 3:51 am

    Please allow me to go off topic and post this link to Dick Cavett’s NYT piece. I sat through the entire Senate sessions the other day and passed on the House sessions the following day due to burnout. The wordsmiths here will enjoy this:


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  27. Dexter said on April 13, 2008 at 4:33 am

    Obama words matter

    Really, Obama, you were right the first time. Most hayseeds in fly-over land vote over gun issues and abortion issues (they hate it). The exceptions are bloggers; we are hip and really know our stuff. OK…maybe not, but I worked in a factory and we got less than than 5% to turn out for union meetings, and very few people read any papers or could discuss what was on Walter Cronkite/ Dan Rather the previous night. Obama had the general feelings of the working person exactly right when he basically said workers have given up on Washington and are bitter about it. I also will hyperlink my urls from now on to clean up the space issue of direct-posting long urls.

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  28. Crabby said on April 13, 2008 at 9:19 am

    Deborah – your first guess is the correct one – a hot mom.

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  29. Harl Delos said on April 13, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    Dick Cavett’s NYT piece

    One comment to the piece referred to “sesquibackpedalianism”.


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