Department of Simple Pleasures
My table calendar by artist Joyce Gabriel makes the time-passes-too-damn-fast transition somewhat bearable…and I never peek ahead. I like to be surprised by each month’s mascot.
Yesterday was goodbye, cucumber, hello, candy corn.
The artist also makes the Best Playing Cards Ever ® .
* * *
Department of Simple Pleasures, the Sequel
Dateline: yesterday morning, circa 7:30 am, walking through a local park. Many school children, sometimes accompanied by a parent or older siblings, take the park’s paths to the nearby elementary school. A lad (age six or seven, I’d guess) riding a scooter was on the path, headed toward me. He called, “It’s hard.” At least5, I think that’s what he said – I was listening to a podcast and had my ear buds in.
I paused the podcast and looked around. The boy was alone; the friendly, please-notice-me expression on his face was definitely directed my way. As he scooted past me he showed to a stop and indicated with one hand the direction from which he’d come.
“It’s hard, riding all that way,” he said. “I’m new at this.” I gave him a thumbs up and told him I never would have guessed that – he rode like a champ! The bashful smile on his face indicated I had made his morning…and he, mine.
* * *
I’d been trying to avoid most of the All Pope/All the Time coverage infesting seemingly every media outlet  of that RC dude known as Francis’ “Rocking America” tour. It frosts my butt, FAVOR,  to see a smoke-and-mirrors appointed leader of a patriarchal mythological religion  treated as if he were the head of a legitimate nation with whom the USA has strategic interests and/or trade and arms agreements.
(And don’t get me started even thinking about how much thi$ i$ co$ting taxpayer$ in providing $ecurity and other logi$t6ical arrangement$.)
As per my life de-stressing campaign, a part of my pope-news-evasion strategy includes trying to ignore the fawning statements by some of my allegedly liberal sisters and brothers, who rhetorically pee their tighty-whities  with excitement when Frankie says something that sounds even vaguely 21st century (his predecessors set the bar way low, so the rejoicing is almost understandable).
I understand the hopeful, the-enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend reasoning. Still, I cannot ignore the fact that, his welcome rhetoric on climate change aside, Frankie has changed not one mote of the Roman Catholic Church’s dark ages, anti-woman, anti-gay, anti-reality doctrine.
And then I hear this: during his visit, PF canonized Junipero Serra.
Okay. The whole thing with saints is, of course, just another embarrassing relic/irrational ritual, so who cares who gets in to the RC Hall of Superstition. But, really, Junipero Serra? The convert-or-die, religious fanatic bully Franciscan friar who marched north from Mexico with the conquistadors through what is now California, establishing the mission system, beating and enslaving Native Americans and asking the Spanish Inquisition headquarters in Mexico City to send an Inquisitor to the Sierra Gorda missions?
Yeah, that’s the ticket.
Regular readers of this blog  might rightly assume that I view the RC hierarchy as a misogynist, anti-intellectual, humorless gang of doddering old men. Still, I gotta credit their wacky sense of humor when it comes initiating and maintaining the saint circus.
There’s a patron saint for everything, from coffee houses and broken bones (St. Drogo) to kidney disease and spelunkers (St. Benedict of Nursia ) and motorcyclists (St. Columbanus) and civil disorder (St. Andrew Corsini) and toothache (St. Medardus) and beekeeping (St. Valentine) and…no, really, ice skaters (St. Lidwina)? and….
So, I guess there is plenty of room for Serra – why not a patron saint of cultural genocide? Give ’em another hundred years and some pope will find a way to sanctify Risadle of Ballarat, patron saint of altar boy diddlers and child molesters.
* * *
“It’s not what kind of church I believe in – for that should be important only to me – but what kind of American I believe in.”
(Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kennedy, 9-12-1960, speaking before the Houston Ministerial Association
Attention, ye bloviating Baptists and chattering Catholics – yes, I’m talking to you, Republican presidential candidates – who so liberally  imbue your political rhetoric with what should be your private primitive, mythologically-based ignorance nonsense religious opinions: I cringe with embarrassment for y’all – with the embarrassment y’all are apparently to self-unmindful to feel – when I hear your why-my-god-told-me-to-run-for-president blathering. Such a pathetic contrast to the soaring reassurances from one who came before you.
That speech to the Houston Ministerial Association addressed what was a pressing issue at the time – what Kennedy referred to as “the so-called religious issue.” This issue, which distracted from the real issues that should decide a political campaign, was the idea that, if elected, JFK would be the first “Catholic President” and thus would be subject to “taking orders” from the Vatican.
“I believe in an American where the separation of church and state is absolute…”
We’ve all likely heard or read that oft-quoted excerpt from Kennedy’s masterful oration, but I urge you to listen to or read the transcript of the entire speech.
Have we fallen so far so fast, that politicians feel comfortable – even obligated – to advertise their personal religious beliefs, as if publicly stated allegiance to imaginary friends are prerequisites or necessities for gaining votes in our patently (and constitutionally mandated) secular democracy? I despair when I consider the fact that so many god-talk people are apparently/willfully ignorant of the deliberately god-free constitution of the country they aspire to lead.
Oh, and a prescient shout-out from JFK’s speech, to scofflaw county clerk Kim Davis  and others of her ilk:
“But if the time should ever come …when my office would require me to either violate my conscience or violate the national interest, then I would resign the office; and I hope any conscientious public servant would do the same.”
* * *
I Realize Marijuana Has Been Legalized in Oregon…
But I wasn’t expecting my broccoli to be getting all giggly about it.
* * *
“I would not wish ____
* Huntington’s Disease
* the heartbreak of psoriasis
* mandatory attendance at an Adam Sandler film festival
*standing downwind of Mike Huckabee after a Gods, Guns Grits & Gravy workout
* ( name your affliction )
on my worst enemy.”
Just wondering: what would you wish on your worst enemy?
* * *
May your worst enemies send you their best wishes,
May you live a life free from possible sainthood,
may your vegetables give you the drug-free giggles,
and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
 Shame on you, NPR.
 For a variety of reasons.
 A redundant description, I realize.
 Rainbow colored, in this case.
 As well as those who suffer from occasional irregularity. Sorry.
 Well, in a manner of speaking.
 How embarrassing for us all, that this ignorant, hypocritical bigot now has her own Wikipedia entry.