Etymology of the Papacy

As you may or must have heard by now, Pope Benedict XVI has stepped down from office before his term was up. Or, to be more ambiguous, before his term was laid to rest alongside his cousin(?) (I’m not Catholic, so I don’t know the family structure between the Pope and ol’ JC.)

In light of this news, I thought it’d be beneficial to know the proper wordage for handling a world with multiple Popes.

A group of popes is known as a popery, similar to a nunnery or a nursery. If you’re talking about separate groups of popes, then you are speaking of disparate poperies.

When referring to a pope when there are other living single vessels of God hanging around the house, it’s best to refer to them by their papal name. However, sometimes casually you’ll just mention ‘the pope’ and unfortunately forcing a conversation regarding which one. For quick reference, until time sorts out the problem, here is your two-pope solution: Refer to the yet-to-be-named pope as ‘the new pope’ while former pope Benedict XVI can be referred to as the shadow pope or the sleepy pope. Once again, one simple snarky adjective can make a world of difference!

The history of the term popery is a fascinating one. Because as I’m sure has been mentioned, a pope hasn’t stepped down from his high chair since 1415. The world has changed a great deal in those nigh-on six centuries. Back in the early 15th Century, when dealing with the last papal resignation, the people of the time were still hesitant to bathe properly. So while there was a popery in Rome, each pope would don different perfumes to distinguish themselves. It is surprising how easy it is to mix up guys wearing pointy white hats (just ask the KKK!)

These different scents were very particular and known across Europe, even as far as the British Isles. England, home of my native tongue, was still heavily influenced by the Norman French ruling class at that time. And this is why to this day we have a French word and spelling for a bouquet of scents: potpourri.

Funny Links

Funny Stuff

I keep up with what I can in the world, but I rarely miss the funnies. Similar to The Daily Show, they’re easy enough doses to digest during busy days.

  • “Simple Instructions” is phenomenal. And the last line here is genius. I’m totally going to start using it.
  • “Atheist Pig” nails a long-held belief of mine: children are born pure and innocent, it’s the rest of life that can bring them down. Since having my own kids, this thought has only been reinforced.
  • “Hijinks Ensue” is a delightfully filthy, geeky comic. I relate to a few too many topics. But you can ask anyone, this is me.
  • Lastly isn’t a comic, it’s a podcast. “The Bugle: Audio Newspaper for a Visual World.” You should listen to it. It’s the tastiest bullshit you’ve ever partaken. Their episode 206 here early on contains one of my favorite lines in all Comedom:

    “But we’re back! The Dream Team is back together. Andy, we’re like Goering and Himmler: you might not like what we do, but you cannot fail to be impressed with the extent to which we’re getting away with it.”

Editor’s note: this is a fresh attempt to entirely compose and publish on my iPad.

Editor’s note 2: I wound up having to copy the text into my laptop’s browser. So close, but not quite there yet.

We’re, We Are, Annoyed by Punctuation

Driving home today, I saw a billboard. And that billboard took a wrench to my left hemisphere and started twisting it around.
We’re Undefeatable.
We are Vikings.

I don’t know if Undefeatable was the top word. Or if it’s a word at all. Not that it matters.

The “we’re” vs “we are” kills me. It’s two different rhythms and two different feelings. And using both makes it lopsided and asymmetrical. “We are” is much more declarative and powerful.

I think I get that the second statement was supposed to be the dominant of the two. But there are other ways to do it.

We are Undefeatable.
We are Vikings.

Shift things around.

We are Undefeatable.

We are Vikings.


Give them different sizes.

We are Undefeatable.

We are Vikings.


“We’re Undefeatable” sounds weak and whiny. It lacks the 1-2-3 of We-Are-Vikings.

So the main lines of this promotion? Swing and a miss. Which is saying something, considering this was promoting football.

Worst. Billboard. Ever.

1. 2. 3.

Mitt the Mensch

As many may already have heard, Mitt Romney’s first international tour as presidential nominee did not go smoothly. Of particular note was his comment on Israel’s success being, in part, due to its culture.
This statement was obviously meant as a compliment, not a back-handed jab at the Palestinian people. All he was saying was that the Israeli people are doing well because their culture is strongly conservative when it comes to money. There is no ill will meant at others, Mitt was just saying that he appreciated how well Israel has haggled for its defense technology and how they account their tax policies.

Maybe Israel could even settle down its foreign affairs and start a nice, mutually beneficial trade relationship with another young country. You know, those recently independent Eastern European countries are a really nice people.

Eject the Core

My last post turned into a small confession.
I have felt too often my views are stifled, primarily by my instinct to not draw attention to myself and not make waves of any kind. While I say the ridiculous among those I love, I do it because I know that love is enduring and I have comfort in spouting what I can. Also, this generally means I pity my loved ones for having to live with me.

There was a brief time where I thought of keeping anonymous at a separate blog, the Simple Humanist. A combination of me whittling down my philosophies of life, physical and metaphysical. I posted a few times, but it went essentially nowhere. Looking back, that project was a while ago.

Time speeds by us all. You have to get on the trolley or you do nothing. Either way, you wind up dead. My silence is me standing around doing nothing. I can’t get on the trolley without taking a step. Even if it could pick me up, standing on the tracks would be more likely to shorten my time.

My plan is to be more honest with myself, to deny less of who I am. I don’t think I’ll intentionally be rude, and nobody’s place is to say if someone is stupid for thinking one way or another. It’s all a matter of pointing out fallacy when you see it. I missed plenty of notes in rehearsal, but it never meant I wasn’t a capable player. That was bad, you’re not bad; the difference is right there.

So I can’t really apologize in advance for what I say here. Besides, this is my blog, my brain, and you enter at your own risk. Plenty of other channels out there.

(Why do TV channel metaphors on the Internet feel just as dated as trolley references?)

I am a lifelong atheist, and have never been a Christian. The latter is a given based on the former, but due to the majority around me, that statement often clears up confusion. I’ve not strayed from the flock nor fallen from grace. I’m a clean-living, silly-talking family man who finds religion not only unnecessary to lead a good life but is often a negative influence.

I don’t care much for the term atheist, either. Defining yourself by a negative is weak. It does help though when most people have a different basis of reference. But I think Humanist is the better noun, atheist is the adjective. I believe in the good of humanity as a whole, that we are capable of progressing ourselves for the better. We’re built to live and protect as a group, with love and art being the enormously powerful reaction based on the fusion of those simpler elements.

Atheist for me remains the adjective, remaining not the sole defining factor of who I am. We all have many facets to ourselves, there’s no way a single moniker tells the whole story. My Humanism is certainly a part of who I am, and holding it in at some times while not at others is ridiculous.

I’d rather the ridiculous in my life be limited to the things I spout out rather than what I hold back.

Too Young To Decide

I play cards at a game shop about once a week. It’s nice to have a break from any screens or even concerns outside of what strategies are and aren’t working.
Last time I was out on Friday night, it was at a much larger gathering. There were more younger kids, ones that were about middle school age, with the rest of us ranging from late high school through middle age. I’m naturally a bit aloof and outside of conversation, and this particular place wasn’t my regular haunt, so I spent most of my time observing and listening. It’s amusing to hear how young kids speak, and considering this is similar to the crowd I grew up amidst, it’s plenty familiar.

Some of the younger kids were chatting and at a random point, one of the boys declared that he’s an atheist. The others at my table heard it too and gave each other looks. They were a group of brothers with another friend or two. And one said to the group, “Wow. A bit young to be deciding that sort of thing?”

As is my normal reaction, I am silent with a non-commital look. Think of Jim from The Office.

And then it festers in me, until I’m doing some other irritating, mindless task, such as trying to get my sprinkler pump to work again (no dice on that). Then the realization: it’s a huge double-standard.

I could be incorrect, but my presumption is that group of nearly identical, blond young men were Christians. And I should have replied to that statement,

“Well, that’s a bit of a double-standard now isn’t it? How old were you when you could tell someone ‘I’m a Christian.’ Even more specifically, when could you first say definitively that you were a Lutheran or a Baptist? I know I disbelieved in a god earlier than I disbelieved in Santa Claus.

“Granted, every 14 year old is a fool, as well they should be. We all pick absolutes that get completely shattered by our second decade. Kids spout whatever they think will make them strong, so there you have it. But drop the idea that we’re all Christian by default and everything else is a decision.”

Something along those lines. Wish I was a combination of more outward and quicker wit to come up to any kid’s defense. But alas, I’m left with passive aggression on a mostly-neglected blog.

Weekend Links

If I’m going to get back on this horse, I should probably keep the rides short.

  • This is completely true, and probably why I never dated much.
  • This is painfully true. Painfully. True.
  • This is utterly delightful. I hope I can do the same someday.
  • This is properly true. Take the time and read every word. We’re barely a generation past 1964. Despite our revolutionary tendencies, we all bear the weight of spot in history.
  • This is our home.

Finally All Over Again

I often watch old shows while working in the kitchen. I don’t have to pay much attention since I’ve seen it before, but it offers a little background noise while cooking and doing dishes. I’ve caught up with Star Trek The Next Generation, The West Wing, and now I’m going back through Arrested Development.

This is in my head now. Yay?

The Juice Box Box

I had gone to the store. Among other things, I picked up a box of juice boxes for the kids’ lunches.

A trick I recently learned: to open both ends of a box of drinks or cans, then you can gently move them all as a group into the fridge like loading the bullets from a stripper clip. It’s very slick.

I popped open the one end of the box. Halfway to success right there. At the other end is where I was met with resistance. The glue holding these flaps was more extensive than those on the first end.

So what does one do when facing increased opposition? Bring in reinforcements!

I drew my short utility knife, the suburban dirk if you will, from its sheath (my pocket) and prepared for battle.

Along the edge of the box was a perforation. A bullshit perforation to be certain. But it gave me a guideline to begin the operation.

The knife was in and I began a short sawing motion. About halfway through the edge, I had realized my error. The ruby fluid was slowly coming down the bottom of the box. I quickly got the box righted and in the sink, pulling the clean boxes of fruit punch from the opened, dry end of their container. All was cleaned up and none were the wiser.

Except the poor wounded juice box who wound up dead due to friendly fire.

Thus ends my tale of shame. And what better way to hide my idiocy than write it up on my blog? At least these moments lend themselves to enigmatic tweets.

They Dance

(Via Bad Astronomy.)

This video made me think of us. We’re the only ones here. And we’ve only recently become capable of seeing planets dance with their moons. We strapped cameras to rockets and flung them to the heavens.

We aimed for these specks of light that have traveled among the stars our entire existence. We’ve watched and traced and slowly figured out how to anticipate them. And in the process, we’ve found that we’re one of them. They’re our family.

Now we’ve taken so many pictures that we can watch them move, watch them dance. They’re out there in the depths of cold beyond cold, held onto by the invisible marionette strings of our single, lonely star.

They always would be moving, even without us watching. But we get to, in all the glory of a simple flickering video, like watching experiments with film at the end of the 19th Century. Knowing that this has gone on for time beyond comprehension, yet we finally are seeing it.

Since we are who we are, we will keep looking. Not only do we get to watch our ancient family dance here, but we search on to see how many other dancers there are in the skies.

And since we are who we are, we will never stop. We can’t. Give an animal some thumbs and plenty of time and its progeny will crack rocks into axes and build fires and eventually run around strapping cameras to rockets.

Maybe those animals would start seeing the faintest traces of those marionette strings pulling on our dancers spinning around our single, lonely star.

The planets would still be out there without us. The tree would definitely fall in the woods and vibrate the air. Those planets would be moving with their moons, nameless and silent. But we are the ones who get to see them dance.