Sic launches yet another contest
Have you ever thought what a nightmare it must be for Cardinal Ratzinger, on those far-flung trips, to stand up there with the pope and look down on a million people and worry how far each of them is quietly straying, at that very moment, from Catholic orthodoxy?
From Baltimores Fr. Joe Gallagher, who, despite denials, is subconsciously running for a Senate seat in New York: Too often, we lose sight of lifes simple pleasures. When someone annoys you, remember, it takes 42 muscles to frown but only four muscles to extend your arm and whack them.
If all goes well, Sics sources say, future historians will be able to study at the Jimmy Carter Library, Gerald Ford Library, Ronald Reagan Library and Bill Clinton Adult Bookstore.
Some SIGNS of the times supplied by Sics personal barber, Jim Horton:
Plumber: We Repair What Your Husband Fixed.
Psychics sign: Dont Call Us, Well Call You.
At a laundry shop: How About We Refund Your Money, Send You a New One at No Charge, Close the Store and Have the Manager Shot. Would That Be Satisfactory?
At a towing company: We Dont Charge an Arm and a Leg. We Want Tows.
Billboard: Keep your Eyes on the Road and Stop Reading These Signs.
At a car dealership: The Best Way to Get Back on Your Feet -- Miss a Car Payment.
At a muffler shop: No Appointment Necessary; We Hear You Coming.
In the front yard of a funeral home: Drive Carefully, Well Wait.
Last time, This Space, in a fierce surge of moderation, tried to drag the middle ground onto higher ground. Harking to the sober voice of reason, we decided to sever our ties with liberal hotheads and conservative soreheads alike in hopes of being a moderate like Jesus.
That dull thud you heard was our efforts falling on deaf ears. No one ever said mediocrity would be easy.
We consulted our advisers, Click and Clack. We were too moderate, Click said; not moderate enough, Clack said.
So we advertised for a cardinal who might give our gig gravitas and stature, not to mention lashings of pomp and aplomb. Only one prince of the church responded, and he was extremely eager to please the Vatican. This raises the question: Is it possible to sin against moderation by being orthodox in the extreme, or is there a stage at which one goes beyond the bounds of whatever it is were talking about?
How about another contest? asks Julie Howard. The threads are showing on my Ronald Reagan T-shirt, and its cold in Minnesota. Said T-shirt, lest we forget, was a Sic prize for some forgotten contest back in the old millennium.
Howard has verse in mind. Hark back to old issues of NCR, she suggests, and coax readers to write ditties to match recent pics. This, she slyly suggests, will force them to read stuff they skipped the first time. This in turn will make them better persons. And provide some needy versifier with a threadbare T-shirt.
So Howard, to get the ball rolling, suggested the photo of John Paul greeting the new millennium from his balcony, with fireworks in the distance:
The pope speaks from Rome (in pontifical tone)
About rules and the natural law.
While he reads from his text on the evils of sex,
Hes missing the cosmic ooooh, aaaaah!
He shakes his head No to his people below,
And he issues another decree.
While he reads from his text on the evils of sex,
The sky is exploding with glee.
From Quick Takes in the Chicago Sun-Times, Sept. 29:
The proper closing for a letter to the pope is Prostrate at the feet of Your Holiness and imploring the favor of its apostolic benediction, I have the honor to be, Very Holy Father, with the deepest veneration of Your Holiness, the most humble and most obedient servant and son (daughter).
Is this a scoop or did someone just imagine it?
The philosopher sends wisdom of a kind thirsting souls pant after:
Just because nobody complains doesnt mean all parachutes are perfect (Benny Hill).
Were it not for Thomas Edison wed be watching television by candlelight (Milton Berle).
To err is human -- but it feels divine (Mae West).
When discovered by his wife kissing the maid, Groucho Marx said, I was just whispering in her mouth.
I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury (Groucho).
Marriage is the chief cause of divorce (Groucho again).
I never believed in Santa Claus because I knew no white dude would come into my neighborhood after dark (Dick Gregory).
Awaiting publication of Volume One of Sic so I wont have to be cutting the stuff out of NCR, writes John Jerbi of Chino. What sagacity.
A wedding of the Japanese haiku and MS Windows transforms communication as we know it:
A file that big?
It might be useful.
But now it is gone.
The Web site you seek
Cannot be located but
Countless more exist.
(And dont tell Sic these dont conform to the pure form of the haiku. Lets just call these impure haiku.)
The Tao that is seen
Is not the true Tao, until
You bring fresh toner.
Three things are certain:
Death, taxes and lost data.
Guess which has occurred?
OK, the competition is open to everyone except those working in the Vaticans Congregation for Bishops. The prize is a T-shirt with the logo Cultural Heretic. This garment, suitable for risqué liturgical outings or uptown wine and cheese soirees, will be awarded only if the standard is sky-high. The challenge is to write a better bit of doggerel than Howards, based on a recent NCR photo. Theres just one rule. Anyone making fun of Cardinal Ratzinger will be disqualified if not downright excommunicated.
National Catholic Reporter, February 25, 2000