You have not read, "previous pontiff too pooped to pope" here. I'm too nice. But who could resist "holy smoke"?
Positively, it seems likely that Jorge Bergoglio's decision to rename himself in honor of the man from Assisi could do something for the beleaguered name "Frank," on the decline lately, as expectant Roman Catholic parents shop around. My enlightened Presbyterian great-great-grandfather Franklin Dunlap would want me to point out, however, that my name is an abbreviated version of his --- and that he was named after an old Deist named Ben --- not some Italian guy. Nonetheless, I'm in favor of Franks, no matter the source.
Also hopeful, there are signs that Bergoglio may bring a touch of austerity to the imperial pontificate. This could be a considerable shock to the old queens who run the Roman Curia --- not to mention to the pocketbook of whoever it was who crafted Joe "Nazi Youth" Ratzinger's famous little red slippers, perhaps even to the entire consecrated bling industry.
On a less hopeful note, Bergoglio is perceived as a strict constructionist of the patriarchial school --- no women need apply, don't even think about artificial means of birth control and as far as same-sex marriage is concerned, well ya know, that's a work of the devil and "a destructive attempt to end God's plan."
On the other hand, the new pope, as a cardinal, was unable to derail same-sex marriage in his native Argentina, where it now is the law of the land, and was elevated the day after civil union legislation was adopted in James "Focus on the Family" Dobson's stomping ground, Colorado. So we'll see.
I see by the (online) papers, that Ohio U.S. Rep. Rob Portman, a Republican co-sponsor of the Defense of Marriage Act, has had a change of heart --- two years after his son, Will, came out. Damn those gay kids of ours. The subversive little bastards sometimes force us to open our hearts and minds and behave in a kind-of, sort-of Christ-like way.
Real estate broker and historian John Foreman's blog, Big Old Houses, has been providing considerable entertainment lately. I'm working my way gradually through three (going on four) years of entries devoted to, well, big old houses ranging from grand to garish in New York City and its extended environs.
If you like extensive and lavishly illustrated articles about how the rich and famous (or infamous) once lived --- what kind of houses they built and what remains of their lavish lifestyle today --- you'll get a kick out of this one. Give it a try.