Sunday, October 15, 2006

Ain't Nothing Perfect

Yesterday I was down in the outer wastelands of Parma, wandering through a bland strip-mall when I came upon this enormous sign. This was by far the biggest Bingo sign I'd ever seen, boasting of instant gratification and 6-day availability, obviously providing the nearby parish with plenty of funding.I frowned, I scowled, -- then I said to myself, what did you expect? In an area rife with capitalistic opportunism and exploitation, oozing with shifty-eyed loiterers and disinterested cops lazily walking their beats, with thrift stores, pawn shops, martial-arts schools and obvious front businesses and restaurants, all grown-up like toadstools after the acid rain of urban decay, with the putrid stench of adult bookstores and consumer electronics outlets filling the nostrils and driving out all memory of the permanent things, the crawling filth seeping from......

Crunchy me. Where was I?

Oh, yes, Parma. I wondered, are the refreshments better at Orthodox Bingo than the Catholic ones? Not being a Bingo-kind-of-guy I would have no point of comparison. Certainly either would have to be better than at a Southern Baptist Bingo, if there could be such a thing, at least to my sophisticated Yankee tastes. I don't know if Anglicans do Bingo either, although their founder was known to be an "avid gambler and dice player".

But anyway, after snapping the picture with my trusty Treo, I went into a great little thrift store and bought a knick-knack shelf for $2.14, tax included.


Blogger Cubeland Mystic said...


Ya know the outfit is skimmin about 15% right off the top at St. Nicki's. A couple of the knights work in another organization.

12:50 PM  
Blogger Pauli said...


1:18 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

hey pauli, your post is positively dripping with ... a sense of humor. that's not very Christian of you, cuz don't you know that Jesus didn't have a sense of humor? He never got angry either. nope! ne'er a harsh word.

it's just a shame, all these catholics getting annoyed and cracking jokes. i'll pray for you.

6:57 AM  
Blogger Pauli said...

Well, Kathleen, this is a parody site, you know. This post is my attempt at a "Return to Roots".

Another ironical aspect of my excursion was that Motown song "Ain't that peculiar" was playing on outdoor speakers in the plaza. I don't have any idea why, but to me Motown goes with thrift stores like peanut butter and jelly.

7:24 AM  
Blogger Diane said...


You know, I bet the folks at that parish are really nice. Just ordinary joes, probably Cradles, and utterly lacking in that snotty elitist gnostic purism which seems to be the mainstay of so many Internet Converts to Holy Orthodoxy.

8:08 AM  
Blogger SiliconValleySteve said...

So do you think Benedict converted for the bingo?

And all along I thought it was the hats.

9:19 AM  
Blogger kathleen said...

isn't there a greek or russian word for bingo? a mellifluous, exotic word that would better denote the "the fellowship, the prayerfulness, the feeling of family" than just b.i.n.g.o.?

9:25 AM  
Blogger kathleen said...

Hey, catholic blogger Mark Shea says our site is "rank with sulfur". meaning we are eeeeevil. (well, maybe just me)

I would love to tell M Shea what i smell on large portions of his site, but I'm too polite, and anyway I don't have all the requisite diagnostic and therapeutic vocabulary. and I can't tell him on his site because i've been [cue the reverb] "banned'.

so to Mark Shea, and all persons who visit here despite a perceived rank smell of sulfur: The objections you raise make for a cute little "I'm a better person than you" dance, but the fact is if you weren't enjoying this site, you wouldn't be visiting. It's called complicity, and if you think we are really headed for hades you should (and would) logoff asap.

9:56 AM  
Blogger Bubba said...

Funny stuff, Pauli, but I think you miss the mark. You see, Rod has found a church "where most people want to know more about the faith, and how we can conform our lives to it, rather than wanting to run away from it or hide it so nobody has to be offended."

In order to avoid offending people, those mealy-mouthed Catholics are almost embarassed to advertise their Bingo halls. Not so with the Greeks, and that huge, garish sign is precisely the sort of bold proclamation that no doubt attracted Rod to the Eastern Orthodox church.

(That, and the cuisine: next time he criticizes the church he loves and left, he can have some feta with his whine.)

10:16 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

I would like to add something to what Kathleen just posted.

Mark Shea has called Kathleen "Gollum," "Satan" (IIRC), and worse than the 9/11 terrorists (also IIRC).

Can someone please explain to me how that qualifies as non-sulfurous?

Is it OK to lob vicious name-calling spitballs at people you deem sub-human "gollums," but Heaven forfend anyone should criticize His Crunchiness (because he's, er, Special)?

I do not get this.

And Mark's tirade about "tough love" leaves me scratching my head. He must be addressing someone else. I have never pretended to be chiding Rod out of "tough love." I criticize Rod's *publicly available words* because I think he is doing a lot of damage to a lot of good people with his snotty, rage-filled, contemptuous behavior.

And no, that doesn't mean I hate the guy. But I'm not his biggest fan either. Christ told us to love our enemies. He never said we had to *like* them.

Speaking of which...hmmmm...I wonder whether Mark called Kathleen "Gollum" out of "Christian love" and "tough love"? Surely he wasn't "bashing" her or anything like that... naaaah, it's only bashing when Contras do it.

Ack. I'll retire to Bedlam.

10:16 AM  
Blogger kathleen said...

diane it's called logrolling. i'm not in a position to further mark shea's career -- or so Shea believes -- like rod is. if it's just a catholic housewife he is bashing, instead of someone who works in journalism, well, no reason to hold back.

10:23 AM  
Blogger Pauli said...

I think Mark Shea must have a very worn out pair of gloves next to his computer keyboard. They are worn out from putting them on and removing them so often. He deals with people he's fond of very delicately whereas if he doesn't care much for you or doesn't get your sense of humor he starts spitting invectives displaying the liberal tendency of accusing you of doing what he's doing. ("Quit name-calling you, you jerk you!") Selective condemnation par excellence.

I use to really enjoy Mark's stuff, but his cred is flushed, IMO.

10:30 AM  
Blogger Bubba said...

Kathleen, Diane, where did he say that?

Without knowing the context, I think it's hilarious that Mark Shea hurled almost the exact same insult that Hugo Chavez threw at Bush.

Over-emotional, unoriginal, and guilty of cribbing from a third-rate dictator? Mark, thou art formidable.

10:31 AM  
Blogger Pauli said...

Kathleen, good theory. But didn't you tell me you threw a few hundred bucks Mark's way during his recent Jerry Lewis-style internet telethon? He couldn't have forgotten that already!

Or was that someone else?

10:34 AM  
Blogger Pauli said...

It's here. Except Shea refers to it as the "Crunchy Con" blog by accident. Whatever.

I hate to have to explain to Chavez and Shea-vez that sulfur is odorless (Hello?) -- that they must mean sulfur-based compounds, maybe hydrogen sulfide? Embarrassing.

Shea-vez -- hey, that's not bad....

10:40 AM  
Blogger kathleen said...

that's right bubba. chavez called Bush "el diablo". that is so much more authentic sounding than "satan", don't you think? "el diAHbloooooooo"

10:57 AM  
Blogger kathleen said...

sorry i keep calling ray/rod "rod". it's BENEDICT. i'll try to remember that. it's just so confusing, what with the pope having the same name, and the two being so closely aligned in my head. lol

11:02 AM  
Blogger SiliconValleySteve said...


I've long suspected the same thing that you do. Folks in the blogsphere with hopes of selling articles, books and getting them reviewed in the mainstream press treat Dreher with a respect he doesn't deserve or that they don't give to others whose anger and malice towards the Church are a fraction of Dreher's. Could this be a problem of being a "professional Catholic." I know I act differently around people who have an impact on my ability to care for my family.

Rodman's greatest offence in his "I outta here" essay is that he trashes the faith of the vast majority of Catholics in the US.
The only US Catholics that he finds worthy are those full of anger at the church and barely hanging on. A big irony is that Shea's blog is called "Catholic and Enjoying it". According the Dreher, the only true Catholics are those "white knuckling it out in the parishes." Doesn't sound like enjoying it to me. Yet, Shea treats Dreher with kid gloves while accusing us of being satanic.

At a minimum, it makes you wonder what his criteria for criticism is.

11:10 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

I use to really enjoy Mark's stuff, but his cred is flushed, IMO.

That about sums it up for me as well. I used to be one of his biggest fans...up until very, very recently. Now I just want to steer clear of that site. (It's obsessed with the torture debate anyway....and I actually agree with Mark re that, but sheesh, enough is enough already. Are there no other issues?)

11:31 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

I use to really enjoy Mark's stuff, but his cred is flushed, IMO.

That about sums it up for me as well. I used to be one of his biggest fans...up until very, very recently. Now I just want to steer clear of that site. (It's obsessed with the torture debate anyway....and I actually agree with Mark re that, but sheesh, enough is enough already. Are there no other issues?)

11:31 AM  
Blogger Cubeland Mystic said...


Is that the Saint Nick’s where Father Angelo got in trouble because he tried to sneak in a Prosciutto and 4 jars (la Jara) of wine into the federal penitentiary when he was visiting his Uncle Sal?

If the freakin guards were katlick they wouldn’t of checked under his cassock!

12:35 PM  
Blogger Cubeland Mystic said...


"..just a catholic housewife ..."

Catholic housewives are heroic, especially when they put the law career in the closet for a couple years.

12:52 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

"I know I act differently around people who have an impact on my ability to care for my family."

SVS, yeah that's normal. but being a graceless clod about it -- i.e., being obviously obsequious and polite to one person while trashing the next on the least provocation -- is not normal, or mature, or reasonable.

and of course, whether or not there should be "professional catholics" in the first place is an issue -- for me anyway. personally, i prefer to get my catholic apologetics from those who don't have books to sell, hits to count, talks to give.

12:56 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

thanks cube.

12:57 PM  
Blogger Bubba said...

I propose a rather obvious rule: people who are professionals should behave professionally.

That is to say, in this case, if your stature or pocketbook grows because of your serving as a defender of the faith, you should at least try not to be an embarassment to that faith. To do otherwise is to risk practicing your piety to be seen by men.

In the marketplace of ideas, some deliberately set up shop in the temple's shadow. There's no problem doing that, per se, but the privelege of such prime real estate comes with the responsiblity of maintaining some minimum level of civility.

1:45 PM  
Blogger pikkumatti said...

I bet that great little thrift store where you bought that knick-knack had a seven-letter name that started with "W" and ended with "t".

3:14 PM  
Blogger Pauli said...

Pikkumatti, how dare you suggest that I shop at that horrrrrrrrible place!

No, actually it's a legit thrift store called "Sarah's" or something. Besides, I confessed months ago to the sin of buying a crèche for $6.95 at Walmart. It was made in Thailand and EVERYONE in it was a redhead, even the black wise man.

And to Kathleen's earlier point, Jesus would have to have a sense of humor to see some of the religious kitsch in those 2nd-hand places. But I've actually found some really good religious items like an iron crucifix heavy enough to put Dracula out of commission or at least a garden variety burglar.

5:08 PM  
Blogger Barb the Evil Genius said...

Parma, sadly, is becoming a wasteland. Do you know if it's true that Parma Heights originally split off from Parma to get away from that "wild" city, or is that an urban legend.

By the way, I enjoyed reading the comments; I just have nothing useful to add. :)

12:38 PM  

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