Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Week: A Saturday Summary

"It's been a quiet week in Lake Woebegon..." So begins Garrison Keillor each Saturday evening as he supplies updates on his hometown of hardy, hard-working Lutherans, a staple of his Prairie Home Companion radio program. When Susie and I were living in St. Paul back in the early 80's we had a ritual that went something like this. The first hour of the program she would assemble all the fixin's for a home made pizza. It would be popped into the oven just in time to be pleasantly devoured during Keillor's "News from Lake Woebegon" segment which took place in the second hour of the show.

Rituals are good, and make for some fun memories. And it was great pizza.

The popularity of Prairie Home Companion is such that in recent years, and I don't know when it began, they have been airing a re-run of the live show Sundays on many public radio stations. This is a good thing because Saturday evenings I've been listening to Highway 61 Revisited, which I call the Dylan Hour, that airs on KUMD during that time slot.

There were so many things I wanted to write about this week, but to do each item justice would have required more time than I had time for. So I'll mention a couple highlights of the week now complete.

In case you haven't noticed, we have a new pope in Vatican City. For some reason I was unaware that the pope can give himself a new name when he takes that high office. This pope, who hails from Argentina, has chosen to call himself St. Francis. The story of St. Francis of Assisi was brought to the silver screen in 1972 by Franco Zeffirelli, made even more popular by virtue of its coinciding with the hippie ideals of the day, the rejection of wealth and cultural expectations, and a soundtrack by Donovan. The gulf between the poverty of Francis and the opulence of the Vatican was immense. The climactic encounter between Pope Innocent III and the pilgrim is dramatic.

Today, a new Francis sits upon that "royal throne" amidst the immeasurable splendor there. Will he succeed in diverting the world's eyes away from the Church's manifold scandals by getting us focused on the great need of our time, global poverty?

Something I'm curious about, and maybe someone can help me here... Do priests aspire to the papacy the way that young politicians dream of becoming president?

In other news, a New York judge succeeded in thwarting Mayor Bloomberg's attempt to ban Big Gulp soft drinks in the Big Apple. Frankly, I think we already have too many laws. Why do politicians need to keep piling on? Is this going to be his legacy, that he took the lead in the fight against sugar? Why stop at large drinks? Why not get rid of chocolate and cake and donuts… heavens, donuts are not only sweet they are dripping with grease. And what about bagels? Have you ever seen how many calories there are in a bagel? They make donuts seem like diet food.

In case you didn't already know, sugar's not good for your teeth. If you enjoy dentists and drills, have at it. I stopped putting sugar in my coffee ages ago. It's been said that death and taxes are the only sure things, but I would suggest a third: cavities. Especially if you're sipping a large glass of pop all day. To tell you the truth, I'm not going to stop you from doing it by lobbying for new legislation.

Films I watched this week included To Have and Have Not, the 1944 Bogart/Bacall film based on the Hemingway novel of the same name. Except instead of Cuba it takes place in Martinique. And instead of a tragic end it has a happy ending. Though a work of fiction, the sparks between Bogie and Bacall were real. They married, and did three more films together.

I also finished The Mask last night. The last line in the film is Jim Carrey's "Smokin'." And smokin' we're not in our Minnesota bars and restaurants because of the smoking ban. In principle I dislike the smoking ban because we have too many rules, but I actually don't mind driving home and not bringing the smell of a bar home with me on my clothes.

Speaking of smoking, a former high school classmate of mine passed away this week from lung cancer. He had been a smoker for a spell, but gave it up at age 25. Is it possible the damage was already done?

Meantime life goes on all around you. Enjoy the weekend. Especially if you don't have to shovel snow... like we do here today. 

No comments: