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Is that our Kennnn in the popemobile?

Not everyone noticed when Superprosecutor Kenneth Starrrr descended on St. Louis in the early hours of Jan. 19 to subpoena the pope.

“Are you out of your mind?” said John Paul.

Urbi et orbi,” said Starrrr.

This irrelevant sprig of Latin melted the pope’s heart. And that is why, next day, you might have noticed that wearing the pope’s pointy hat was none other than Linda Tripp. No need to be shocked by this: Women have been impersonating popes for centuries. And everyone knows that St. Peter, who loved to go fishing, would frequently delegate Mrs. St. Peter to wear the pointy hat in his absence.

* * *

This story, which may or may not have been reported by Reuters, is really sad.

A dead German, Wolfgang Dircks, sat in front of his TV set for five years, and no one noticed until his money ran out in the bank that paid his rent. The television set had gone on the blink, but his Christmas tree lights were still flashing. His TV guide (Dec. 5, 1993) was on the lap of his skeleton, no kidding.

Other tenants in his apartment building will go down in history for their lack of inquisitiveness. “Someone said he had gone off to a home,” one said. “I didn’t ask any more.” Two others said they had been there only four years and saw no reason to check on their neighbor.

* * *

Joseph Martos of Spalding University used to contribute to This Space “before Michael Farrell got kicked upstairs.” We have news for Martos: The entity on page 2 may not be the aforesaid MF but an impostor with a nom de plume up his sleeve. Anyway, with you-know-who gone, Martos submits further quotes from his students’ exam papers:

“The connection between salvation and healing in the scriptures is that people who would salvate would be helping someone heal.”

“Jesus condoned marriage by his presence at the wedding feast at Cana.”

At Easter in ancient times, adults who were to be baptized took baths with other people.”

“The groups were composted of different people each time.”

* * *

(There is no truth to the rumor that the German loner died watching Sen. Orrin Hatch explaining on “Meet the Press” that what the American people want is a president who knows how to have a little fun in the Oval Office.)

* * *

This story blew in on the Web:

Two men, waiting at the Pearly Gates, get to talking.

“How’d you die?” the first asks the second.

“I froze to death,” the second says. “It’s rough at first. You get the shakes, and pains in your fingers and toes. But eventually you go numb and just drift off. How about yourself?”

“A heart attack,” says the first. “You see, I knew my wife was cheating on me, so I arrived home unexpectedly. I ran up to the bedroom but found her alone, knitting. I ran to the basement, but no one there, either. So I ran fast as I could to the attic, and just as I got there I had a massive heart attack and died.”

“That’s so ironic,” says the second. “If only you had stopped to look in the freezer, we’d both still be alive.”

* * *

An incensed Sr. Rose Tillemans entered an art store in Minneapolis and saw “a picture of Mary and Joseph embracing. Thank God the child was not in the scene.” Mary’s hair, it seems, was in a bun while Joseph wore a baseball cap.

If Joseph’s hair were in a bun, that would be news.

* * *

A book, 1,000 Years, 1,000 People, lists the 10 most influential people of the last millennium (starting with number 10): Ludwig van Beethoven, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Aquinas, Charles Darwin, Isaac Newton, William Shakespeare, Galileo, Martin Luther, Christopher Columbus, Johann Gutenberg and Linda Tripp.

(Don’t even ask: Sic stops short of making Linda Tripp Pet of the Week.)

* * *

From Rita Mae Brown on the Internet: “The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four Americans is suffering from some form of mental illness. Think of your three best friends. If they are OK, then it’s you.”

* * *

Sic’s friend Amica forwarded a few of life’s thumping conundrums:

What do prisoners use to call each other?

Cell phones.

What did the fish say when it hit a concrete wall?


What do you call a boomerang that doesn’t work?

A stick.

What do you call Santa’s helpers?

Subordinate Clauses.

What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire?


What do you get when you cross a pit bull and a collie?

A dog that runs for help -- after it bites your leg off.

Why do bagpipers walk when they play?

They’re trying to get away from the noise.

* * *

So there, lying on the popemobile floor, is Starrrr, ready to depose His Holiness, and the batteries of the tape recorder are dead. Now, that’s infallibility.

* * *

Meanwhile, Sic’s friend the philosopher raises the question: If the pope were to get too ill to govern, and retired, and a new one were elected, would they both be infallible, or neither, or would we have two half-infallible pontiffs chasing one another around the curia while Cardinal Ratzinger ran for cover?

National Catholic Reporter, February 19, 1999