by Henry Farrell on April 16, 2008

I just spent an hour trying to make my way through the Popage – I had forgotten that the papal procession would be wending its way along Pennsylvania Avenue, which inconveniently cuts between my Metro station and my office. Eventually, the Pope made his way through, waving at the cheering crowds on both sides of the street, but even afterwards the street was closed (for some unexplained reason which I suspect had more to do with DC police overtime than security needs, they aren’t letting people cross the street again for another couple of hours).

It was an interesting contrast with the last time that I had seen a Pope in person – when John Paul II came to visit Ireland in 1979, I, along with a very significant chunk of the rest of the population, went to see him. This was probably the high-water mark of the Catholic Church’s influence in Ireland – the 1980s saw a series of largely successful defensive actions against encroaching secularism, while the 1990s saw a series of unsuccessful ones against teh gay (finally legalized in 1993), the introduction of condoms (which had previously been available only by prescription in order to try to limit their use to married couples), divorce, and the right to travel to obtain an abortion.

In particular, I was struck by the similarities between the 1979 Popemobile and the 2008 version – either the engineers haven’t much imagination, or there isn’t all that much you can do to improve the basic design (although I don’t remember the original having bulletproof glass). Nor was the 1979 experience complicated by evangelical Christians with bullhorns vigorously denouncing ‘false religion’ and telling the cheering nuns and folks in Pope Benedict t-shirts that they were all going to go to hell unless they were born again in Christ. Finally, I was intrigued by this sign (apologies for blurriness of photo; the camera on my phone is garbage), which seemed to me to have dark undertones that were presumably not intended by the person who was waving it about.

We Love Our German Shepherd


by John Holbo on April 16, 2008

Who would win in a fight between the Rhythm Bug and the Rhythm Thief? (By the by, I think the Swingology Prof. of Katnip Kollege could go toe to toe with Roosevelt Franklin any day.)

Crooked Timber dining notes (MCXVIII) — Squirrel

by Chris Bertram on April 16, 2008

This being a blog with global reach, you never know whether what you take to be exotic isn’t mundane in the region where your snarky fellow-blogger or commenter lives or comes from. So, with that caveat, I report that I had “squirrel cocotte” for my dinner last night, with, appropriately enough, hazelnuts. Now I’ve ticked it off the list of stuff I’ve eaten, I probably won’t choose it again from a menu, but nor would I turn it down if offered by a friend. Dark, intense, a bit like venison, with hints of chocolate (since you ask).