Sunday, March 24, 2013

Of Popes, Points and Pols

Stories that are making me weary:

The Pope. The resignation of one pope and the selection of another was unquestionably big news. When Pope Benedict gave God three week’s notice, he was the first pontiff to step down in some 600 years. When Pope Francis ascended to the papacy, he was the first non-European to lead the Catholic church in 1300 years.

In between these two events, we were subjected to the silly season. A hundred thousand people gathered in St.Peter’s Square to watch the spectacle and I’m thinking 90,000 of them must have been reporters.

In a desperate search for news, they came up with such gems as “Pope Benedict XVI Will Have to Give Up Red Shoes, Shoulder Cape” and “Anxiety Befalls Vatican as Cardinals Gather.” ABC’s Diane Sawyer quizzed Cardinal Wilfrid Napier of South Africa on what he would pack before moving to the electoral dormitory.

When the smoke cleared, not much had changed. A gentleman of some considerable years was chosen, a man who like his predecessors is devoted to keeping the church squarely entrenched in the 16th century, give or take a millennium or two.

For one week, it was a great show, full of solemnity and ritual. Now it’s business as usual in the Vatican. Nothing to see here, move on.

The Lakers. To put it delicately, the team stinks. That hasn’t stopped the local press corps from churning out stories by the basketful each and every day. The Los Angeles Times sometimes will have three Laker stories on days the team doesn’t even play.

Every utterance from Kobe Bryant is treated as scripture. Every move by Dwight Howard is dissected, analyzed, then studied some more. Injuries are reported in detail that would make the Mayo Clinic proud.

One of their players is named World Peace. Which, like the team's chances, is a long shot.

Worse, reading about the Lakers is like being back in junior high school: who likes who, who doesn’t like who, the spats, the gossip.

This team isn’t going anywhere this year. And when they fail, there will be months of navel gazing. Enough already. Vin Scully and the Dodgers can’t get here soon enough.

The Republican Party. The GOP has been indulged in self-flagellation since Nov.7, 2012, the day they woke up and discovered they had been blitzed in an election they thought they had in the bag.

Since then, one Republican leader after another has decried the fact that their party tried to appeal to an electorate that no longer exists in any significant numbers, and in the process had managed to alienate blacks, Latinos, gays, women, young voters not to mention dogs and cats, birds and bees.

Now, the party has released a report, or an autopsy if you will, that essentially says the same thing. One of the authors of the study said that focus groups described the party as “narrow-minded,” “out of touch” and “stuffy old men.”

We get the point.

If the GOP doesn’t want to go the way of the Whig party, it had better stop continually talking about its failures and start addressing its future. Congressional elections are a little more than a year away.

The NFL in L.A. Welcome to another chapter of “As the Football Turns.”

Tim Leiweke has put his heart and sole into bringing NFL football to Los Angeles on behalf of his boss, Denver billionaire Phil Anschutz. His reward? Anschutz throws him under the bus and says he’ll personally take charge of getting a deal done.

The NFL’s reaction? Commissioner Roger Goodell in a statement that fairly oozes with tepid interest, says of Anschutz, “ He seems that he would like to get a stadium built in Los Angeles that would be suitable for an NFL team. We look forward to working on that.”

After 18 years of hollow promises and dead deals, the next thing I want to hear on this subject it that an agreement has been reached. If I live that long.

Lindsey Lohan: Enough said.

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