It's been awhile since I've had a "snow day randomness" post. In fact, I'm not sure I had one last year. But--it's snowing pretty hard outside, and I'm in an extremely random frame of mind (read as: indecisive), so, when you put those things together, it's a bit of a no-brainer. I am glad that I am doing this in February, and not March--March snow just pisses me off, especially when it's around the start of Spring. Winter gets far too much of the year, even here in a temperate zone, so it seriously needs to be evicted once Spring starts. Enough is enough.
So, to let the randomness begin:
After writing my previous post on the "Jersey Shore" reality show, Yahoo posted an article about Jersey Shore "guido" fashion making a comeback among teens OK, teens--listen to your old Auntie Brigid who lived through guido fashion the first time--DON'T. Really. It's like getting tattoos in certain places, or of certain things--one day you will look back and say, "why didn't my parents just opt for the lobotomy instead of letting me walk around like that?" As a teen I never succumbed to guido fashion, though I did almost succumb to the big hair look, which I didn't really succeed at because Nature was kind enough to step in and stop that from happening. My hair simply rebelled; if it could talk, it would have said, "You're crazy if you think we're going to stand up like THAT. And you need counseling or something if you actually want us to stand up like that." My hair still looked pretty awful in the eighties, but it could have been worse. And people wonder why I believe in divine intervention.
The Rumpus recently posted some of Carlo Farneti’s illustrations for a 1935 edition of Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal. These are absolutely amazing.
Looks like Pope Benedict has more trouble. Last year Benedict created a stir when he made Gerhard Maria Wagner auxiliary bishop of Linz. Wagner has the unfortunate distinction of having much in common with Pat Robertson--he seems to think that major catastrophes like Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, and now the Haiti earthquake, as the residents' own fault, because they are "sinful". Wagner did resign as Bishop, but his recent comments on Haiti have just re-kindled a firestorm of criticism against the Pope, who is now accused of bringing the Church "back into the Dark Ages", with Wagner's appointment being the "tip of the iceberg". The latter statement was made by the head of the Catholic lay-initiative, Herbert Kohlmaier. He feels the Church is now more of a "sect" (a term used to describe a group that radically departs from orthodox theology), and people are leaving in droves.
I have to say that I'd regained some respect for the Vatican under John Paul II, who seemed to be very willing in at least some significant respects to be more "inclusivist" than the Church has been historically. (This is not to be confused with "pluralistic"--I doubt the Church will ever be pluralistic, but inclusivist is at least a step in the right direction). Looking at Benedict's track record so far, it's hard to disagree with Kohlmaier. Between Wagner, and Williamson (the Holocaust denier who was reinstated after ex-communication), his questionable statements against Muslims and Jews, his investigation of American nuns (who are the only ones left to give the Church in America a good face after all the priestly pedophilia), and the real kicker--inviting Anglican priests and bishops to "come over to our side" during a major Anglican conference, which was debating the ordination of homosexuals. Benedict may be well versed in theology, but in terms of the world in general, he obviously has been living with his head up his ass. The previous Pope and the Cardinals should have listened to him when he said he just wanted to retire quietly and write a book. He and the world would have been better off. Pope is not a job for everyone, regardless of theological credentials. I think many of these high-ranking officials spend more time writing and reading books than working with people. In the world of libraries--our analogy is the administrator who graduated with his or her M.L.S. and went straight into administration for a large institution, never doing any actual librarian work. Librarians tend to be at odds with such administrators, because they make decisions with no regard for how things really work in their institution. The Church is getting to be the same way (again).
The snow has stopped. It looks like we've only got 3-4 inches of snow, tops. Which means I could probably be out of the house and on the road by noon if I wanted. I shouldn't complain about the snow this year--it's as though Nature is striving to be inoffensive, snowing only at night and early morning, only a few inches at a time, as to provide as little inconvenience as possible--but significant enough to let me sleep in a bit. Of course, my friends in Philadelphia and DC are not singing the same tune at this moment--they had about 2 feet of snow and it's still coming down. Usually the South fares better than the North in the winter--they've gotten the "sh*t end of the stick" this year.
Speaking of the South--one of my fave guitarists who now works for NPR, Carrie Brownstein, recently drove up to New York from DC, and got stuck in...South Jersey. On the Turnpike. Here is her account of that adventure. Just goes to show you that South Jersey is an entirely different animal from North Jersey.
And, speaking of South Jersey again--and animals (sort of)--I understand that next week's "Paranormal State" season finale is a Jersey Devil episode. I hope it's good. "Scariest Places on Earth" had gone to the Pine Barrens with a group of Devil-hunters, and supposedly they saw something, though Weird NJ later reported that the implications of the episode were "misleading" at best. If you have never heard of the Jersey Devil, here is some background. And here is Weird NJ's take on the Jersey Devil.
Lastly--here is a post on "Dangerous Things Kids Should Do". The fact that Mental Floss even has such a post--and that one could seriously ask, "should you let your kids do mildly risky things?" is mind-blowing. Kids today seem to be fenced in and kept on a leash. Part of it is because parents have been fed this extraordinary bullsh*t about how "much more dangerous" it is in the world today, and part of it is because parents are now much more liable according to child "protection" laws than they ever were previously. So, it's hard to blame parents. But you're not protecting the kids from anything--you're basically keeping them from growing up and being functioning adults. Walking out the door every morning is a risk--get over it and just do it. And always be wary of laws passed in the name of "safety" and "protection" of the citizens. They usually don't protect anything--they just take away your ability to freely do something.
I will leave you on that happy note as I go out to shovel some snow...and the phrase, "Sarah Palin's people". Don't think about that for too long.