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bark at the moon
(may contain papal inaccuracies)

So I received an email last night asking:

How come you didn't write anything about the Pope? You write glowing obituaries for the most obscure of pop culture figures but this world figure dies and you don't say a thing?


Well, xxx, in case you haven't noticed, I'm an atheist. Do you think some guy who runs a classical music blog wrote anything when Joey Ramone died? Probably not. Get my drift?

After I returned an email to xxx, I thought, why not indulge this person and write something about the Pope. The thought crossed my mind again five minutes ago when I sat down to write this morning's post and realized I had nothing planned. So Pope blogging it is.

When I was in high school, I wrote a short story for my creative writing class called Ascension. In it, the Pope dies, giving way for the undercover anti-Christ to take over the reigns. Obviously, I was inspired by Nostradamus. In my story, good does not triumph over evil. In fact, the world ends with the anti-Christ in charge, which was a blow to the contingents of religious people who were trying desperately to right the wrong before the universe imploded, so we would at least all die without the taint of the devil on our souls. No such luck.

Suffice it to say that, this being a Catholic school, my work of fiction did not go over well. Although my creative writing teacher was a lay person, he still thought I should hand in something else to avoid conflict with the head of the department - a nun whose name I forget but whom I shall refer to fondly as Sister Mary Elephant. I demurred, giving an impassioned plea as to how he should judge my work on its merits and not on moral grounds and not in a way that made me think he was frightened of a nun who stood 4'8" to his 6'2". Honestly, I just had nothing else to turn in and my story was already a day late. And a good ending short, apparently.

So Mr. A. reluctantly accepted Ascension and lo and behold, Sister Mary Elephant did happen to gaze her eyes upon my work. I was called into her office, where she said that she concurred with Mr. A. that the story did deserve a good grade, based on the writing. Then she winked at me - a mocking, evil sort of wink, if you can imagine a nun with that sort of thing - and told me Ascension was comedy gold. It was a horror story. Touche, Sister Mary Elephant. I got my A, and Sister got her point across that I was a blasphemous heathen.

So what does this have to do with the Pope? Everything, obviously. In the Agora points out what all the tin foil Papal hat people are wildly gesticulating about: There will be a solar eclipse on the day of the Pope's burial! Whoa! Holy signs from above, Batman!

Well, it's a partial solar eclipse. And it won't be viewable in Italy. But don't let that stop you from quoting old Nostraman:

The greatest solar eclipse, the sign of calamities.

And then it goes on to say something about the Church's law and some say a comet will fall from the sky, followed by meteor showers and....wait, wrong soothsayer.

Anyhow, my fellow heathen Andy is all over this eclipse thing.

Let's move past the eclipse and onto birds, because Nostradamus mentions birds, too.

Unusual birds shall cry in the sky before the coming of the antichrist.

Now, we all know birds are evil, evil beings. As one person who knows about these things once said, They are evil creatures who carry the soul of the devil in their wings.

Coincidentally, before I read my email from xxx, I was going to write about birds and how much they annoy me and how evil, evil, evil they are, until I realized I have written that very thing before, many times (which is how I ended up with nothing else to write about and hence, writing about the Pope, in a roundabout way).

So you see, birds were reading my mind. And as I look out the window and see the strange birds and hear their strange noises, I can only conclude that the anti-Christ is nigh and we are all doomed.

Unless. There's always an unless.

See, when the Papal people go to their underground cabal and use the Ouija board to divine the prophecy that will declare the new Pope, they are falling into the trap the ant-Christ and his minions set up a long time ago. Inevitably, given all the portents going on (Hello? Federline/Spears reality program? Satan calling!) will ultimately lead to the new Pope being the bringer of death, evil and the end of mankind.

In order to avoid this catastrophe, the Papal committee must change horses midstream. They have to scrap whatever they were planning on doing in that dank cellar and come up with a new plan, to bring in a new Pope that doesn't have ties to the underworld. And that's where Dennis comes in.

Dennis is stumping for Pope. Pay no attention to the fact that Dennis is SINNED spelled backwards. Just an odd coincidence, much like the eclipse. Dennis seems heartfelt in his plea to be elected Pope. His platform is one of reaching out the people and affecting change in the church that will bring the kiddies back to Sunday mass. Less tithing, web based masses, women priests, acceptance of gays within the church, term limits - Dennis seems to have the good of the people in mind, instead of the good of the coffers. Dennis also has delusions of grandeur, but that's besides the point. Maybe he, like millions of us, just wants to wear a pointy hat all day.

If I wasn't so virulently anti-Catholic church, I would run for Pope myself. After all, a few years ago I came up with a list of things that would have churches all across the world packed to the rafters every Sunday, not just on Christmas and Easter. Yea, I know. People don't run for Pope. They're chosen. And something about having experience and a halo over your head and the secret code to get into the Vatican anteroom. None of which I have. But I do have ideas! And if they ever put the Pope vote to the people and if Dennis or any one of you should ever decide to run for the position, feel free to use my suggestions.

  • Cushions for the pews
  • Refreshments served intermittently in return for your gracious donation. Water and fruit will do. Nothing that crunches too loud.
  • The priest should sporadically interrupt mass to announce the football scores
  • Let the young kids come up to the altar to give "shouts out" to their homies
  • Have an opening and closing theme song. Something catchy, maybe a little free style rapping.
  • Mass should open with one of the altar boys shouting out "ARE YOU READY TO ROCK AND ROOOLLLLLL??"
  • The priest should have a catch phrase that everyone can say along with him. Like, "Jesus Christ on a Pogo Stick!" and then he can hop around on a pogo stick when he says it. That should get people laughing and feeling good.
  • Offer flavored communion wafers. Bubble gum, Strawberry, Pina Colada and Root Beer
  • Right after the homily and before the breaking of the bread, have the altar boys come out and do a choreographed dance routine. For the girlies.
  • Put the day's readings in graphic novel form
  • Give out tokens to each worshiper that shows up. When you get ten tokens, you get a Sunday off from church
  • Two words: Chocolate Jesus
  • Give out door prizes. First ten worshiper in the door get free jar of holy water

Yea, I know. The Catholic doctrine is pretty much etched in stone, carved in said stone by the albino clerks who live in the Vatican basement. How do I know that? I read it. In this story called Ascension.

Beware the 9th of April. Just saying.

And this has been my attempt at Pope blogging. Thank you, I'll be here all day. Leave your tips in the collection basket.


Contrary to popular belief, this man is NOT the antichrist. Please do not waste your time watching the tv and playing Where's Evil Waldo by looking for him in the crowd of mourners in Rome.


If he approaches you and claims to be the antichrist, just call him a fraud, remind him that he lost the plot after Mechanical Animals, and threaten to douse him in holy water.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference bark at the moon
(may contain papal inaccuracies)

» Michele Makes Me Laugh...Again from The Daily Brief: I See the F**k-up Fairy Has Visited Again!
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Needs a keyboard/screen warning.

I'm dyin' here.

As for your suggestions on how to improve mass, you've pretty much described those evangelical mega-churches popping up throughout the heartland.


The Buddy Christ really IS a good idea. As George Carlin said, "Christ didn't come down to give us the willies. He came to help us out."

Damnit, you beat me to an "If I were Pope" post - I had been planning my since the RMBB on Saturday, but illness got in the way. Curse you, woman! Curse you and the ground on which you walk!

But, uh, thanks for the link, sugar.

Debra, you are correct. I play keyboards/guitar/mandolin in perhaps the most radical Sunday Service allowed within the Methodist Church. The blue-hairs from the "traditional" service at our church call our service "hippie church".We have pew cushions, an opening and closing theme, I personally scream "ROCK AND ROLL!!!" from time to time. We don't have flavored communion wafers, but we use King's Hawaiian Bread. Yum. We don't do the crucifix thing, but we do have a trippy banner that some call the Hendrix-Jesus banner. No chocolate Jesus, but my kids got chocolate crosses for Easter.

OK, so we're not a mega-chuch (that would be quite un-Methodist).

Slart, did you ever yell FREEEEEBIRD during mass?

Oh, I forgot - we have laypeople do the "big" Sunday prayer. Many times they tell personal stories and ramble on too long before the actual prayer. Last night at rehearsal I suggested that when that happens in the future, we start playing music when they go too long, like at the Oscars . Really!

michele, I would, but I played bars and dives here in the South for 10 years. If I never hear someone screaming FREEEEBIRD! again I'll be happy. It's kind of like the "No Stairway" sign in the music store in Wayne's World. Screaming "FREEEEBIRD" is blasphemy; not to a Christian, but to a musician in the South.

King's Hawiian Bread rocks. I'd take communion more often if that was it.

I'd like to petition for the kneelers to be spring loaded, like those lift chairs they make for grandmothers. I'm not getting any younger, you know.

You had me thinking you were serious with these suggestions, but when I re-read them I stopped and thought 'bubble-gum communion wafers'?? She must be kidding.

Grape, maybe, but never bubble-gum...

"Well, xxx, in case you haven't noticed, I'm an atheist."

Does that mean you don't believe in the Pope and he doesn't really exist?

Seriously though, I am surprised that you didn't have a serious piece on the pope since you are a ex-catholic. As an ex-catholic myself I find that the whole media blitz surrounding his death a bit much.

We called my 7th grade teacher "Atilla the nun".

The PopeVision is kind of tiring, but the same was done for Reagan. Hell, the same kind of coverage is given to hurricanes and snowstorms. I would have been surprised if it wasn't wall to wall coverage.

Does that mean you don't believe in the Pope and he doesn't really exist?

You know, I often had this fantasy as a child that if I simply stopped believing someone existed they would cease to exist. And yet, my fifth grade teacher lives on.

Michele - you can just thank God (wait, that won't work), er, thank your lucky stars (not that an atheist believes in astrology either, but just work with me here), that I'm going to start praying for your soul, otherwise, you might as well start singing another Southern rock song, Drivin N Cryin's "I'm going straight to hell"...

Then again I'm not Catholic, so I don't know if this is going to do any good... Oh, well, it's the thought that counts.

BTW, can anyone out there that believes in Astrology tell me if there are such things as "Lucky Stars"; I DO know there's such a thing as "Lucky Charms"

BTW, can anyone out there that believes in Astrology tell me if there are such things as "Lucky Stars"; I DO know there's such a thing as "Lucky Charms"

Yes. But Lucky Stars are not magically delicious.

I take my 4 year old daughter to a service for children at my church (Episcopalian) and I enjoy it more than the "regular" service. She likes it, too, and asks to go. The kids go up and sit around the priest for his sermon, which often has props and is geared to young kids. The music is often fun and the cantor will often explain how some of the hymns should be sung. The chairs have cushions and they hand out crayons and illustrated bulletins for the kids to color if they get bored.

I'll be sad when the kids are older and stop wanting to go to the kiddie service...

BTW, Christ did not come down to make everyone feel good. His message is not intended to be entirely comforting. Not that Church should be scary and I don't see any problem with humanising Christ... he is supposed to be the conduit between the human and the divine.

To get me to go to church more often, it shouldn't be in the morning...


When I hit this line:
"...so we would at least all die without the taint of the devil on our souls."

I completely lost interest in the story. The devil's taint. I mean, I read your article almost to the finish, but I just couldn't get past the Devil's taint thing. I don't really want to have anyone's taint on me or my soul, not to mention the devil's. Can you imagine what kind of steaming, sweaty nastiness the devil's taint exudes? Talk about the teabag from Hell! Blech!

Addendum: Actually, I probably would let someone touch me with their taint. Maybe Jessica Alba or someone, but I guess technically chicks don't have taints. But whatever.

Maybe it was a typo, shank - wouldn't you have the devil's taint on your [sole] if you got in a really good kick to the balls?

but I guess technically chicks don't have taints.

I beg to differ. Also known as the chin rest. Don't neglect it.

See and all I did at Mass was teach the little kids how to make paper air planes. I should have been showing them how to make fire cracker or something else.

If baseball can have a 'designated hitter', why not a 'designated kneeler'? Tanya's right... those things can be a killer...


There once was a pope from kentucky....
/THAT is comedy gold

Contrary to popular belief, this man is NOT the antichrist.

Okay, Michele -- but when Pope Marilyn I is proclaimed on April 20 (Hitler's birthday! The omens just keep piling up!), don't come crying to me.

You just KILLED the surprise McGehee.

Oh, there WILL BE a day of reckoning, unbeliever, when you bow before the throne of Marilyn and acknowledge his anti-divinity.

(I loves me some Golden Age of Grotesque.)

Unusual birds shall cry in the sky before the coming of the antichrist.
Well, this is the time of year for grackles.

I hate gackles.

Contrary to popular belief, this man is NOT the antichrist.

Of course he's not; and a presumptive proof of that can be found here (you have to watch the whole thing to get the point).


you know, mr t had more to say about world affairs and the eternal damnation of human life than a sad old anti commie polack ever did.
pity the fool.

'Christ did not come down to make everyone feel good. His message is not intended to be entirely comforting. Not that Church should be scary and I don't see any problem with humanising Christ... '

really, nice take. He came to save and offer comfort. What form of imbecile doesn't understand that aspect.

'you know, mr t had more to say about world affairs and the eternal damnation of human life than a sad old anti commie polack ever did.
pity the fool.'

eternal damnation---how sad that so many otherwise kind minds accept and even promulgate such deviant ideas. To accept this as an option for anyone at anytime is to lower yourself as a human and a believer.

Fair weather for a week, then rain across St. Peters right after the burial. Not the eclipse, but you can't have everything.