Clergyman, n. A man who undertakes the management of our spiritual affairs as a method of bettering his temporal ones. ~ Ambrose Bierce
Is it a sporting event or the Academy Awards? Perhaps a little of both with a touch of a presidential race and American Idol thrown in.
Whatever the case, picking the next pope promises to be entertaining, if the early social media frenzy is any indication. And hell, er, I mean heck, since betting options are available, that makes it at least sporting in nature, plus it was time for a Chaos sports update as well.
Don’t worry about my soul for saying the shit I’m about to say. Many people who have heard my views about religion in general, and the topic of big-business religion specifically, already told me I’m going to hell. I love a lot of those people unconditionally, and part of me really wants to believe they’re right if only because I know it will make them real happy in hereafter. But my heart and soul just aren’t in it, and if I’m right, then at least none of us are going to burn in hell for having different opinions about it all.
Cue Entertainment Tonight Theme, Dancers Get Ready, Aaaaand, ACTION!
Seriously, it’s easy to piece together half a horserace, half a political race and half-Oscars to the whole affair…at least judging from media reports which always need three halves to make a whole. Sometimes more. At some point this week, I’ll see what Comedy Central has to say about it to really help me sort it out.
But until then, one of my favorite preseason reports on the big event was an NBCnews.com compilation from a trio of reporters, that led with a quote of a papal contender, “…perhaps the will of God isn’t entirely clear to many of us.” That salvo was fired by Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, a 200/1 long shot according to the on-line gambling site PaddyPower.com. When a Catholic Cardinal professes to not having a real understanding of God’s will, it’s easy to understand why he’s a long shot to make the jump up to the really, really, really big leagues.
The best part of that article was how it made the whole thing out to be a Next Comedy-Slash-Papal Superstar contest. Sean O’Malley (Cardinal-NY) had “star power” according to the writers, who also called Tim Dolan (Archbishop-MA) “media-savvy.” I think that means he has a Twitter account, but I’m not real certain since I don’t have one of those.
Dolan even got in an early ice-breaker when he said, “They have a saying in Italy, ‘You can only make gnocchi with the dough you’ve got.'” It was interpreted as a joke, though I’m not so sure.
FOX News had a report by Jonathan Morris (Father-OH), obviously an objective source, that ran through a list of musts for the next pope to have/be, and it concluded nobody was perfectly qualified. The padre started to narrow his field from the 115 candidates, then culled the herd by criteria such as age, how closely linked to controversies, time in Rome to kiss a lot of ass, things like that. It failed to mention that approximately 3.3 billion people in this world were narrowed from the field to begin with simply because they do not have a penis.
If You Can Bet On It, It’s A Sport
FOX also has no problem with previewing the event like a horserace, as evidenced by this article about the top contenders which includes typical nationalistic terms like “Italy’s best chance at reclaiming the papacy,” presumably media-savvy phrases such as “known for prolific tweeting,” and what all FOX viewers love to hear, “soft-spoken conservative.” Ah, if only one of them was a real good mudder.
Italy’s Angelo Scola (A-Italy) is the favorite at 9/4, according to the odds at PaddyPower.com, with Odilo Scherer (C-Brazil) next at 4/1 and Peter Turkson (C-Ghana) priced 9/2. Marc Ouellet (C-Canada) is fifth on the list at 10/1 and O’Malley (C-NY) is tied for sixth to rank as the top North Americans in this year’s race.
You can also bet on UK atheist Richard Dawkins at a very devilish price of 666/1, plus Ireland’s Bono and Craggy Island’s Father Dougal Maguire, each at 1000/1. Personally, I think Father Maguire would make an excellent Pope.
Remember to tip your waitress and all wagers have action. Good luck, gentlemen.
About the Author: A crotchety old man since his birth during Gen. Eisenhower’s first term as US president, Willie B. Lakey resides in the bee-yoo-tiful Texas Hill Country along with his wife, too many cats and his beloved beer fridge. Employed as an overworked and underpaid freelance sportswriter, his few moments of happiness usually come when communing with critters, tending his garden or sippin’ cold beer and enjoying tunes at Gruene Hall.
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