The Banjo Pope
Common Rotation Newsletter
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
As Eric and I put away the Christmas Cookies and finally turn off the Christmas Cable, I'm relieved to not have to write a Christmas one this year. Summing up all of 2007 while shamelessly promoting our modest goals for 2008 is much easier then trying to fit in the birth of the Lil Baby Jesus with Lil Wayne, shopping, malls and shopping malls. This should be easy. I use the word modest not because we have given up on our wet dream of absolute world domination but because as we crawl towards thirty years of age we are suddenly content in our daydream of the occasional free meal. Youth just seems to be the newest thing around, you know? Please don't pity us; we sleep much better at night this way. This is how it always goes: Eric and I, share a Christmas Blanket while he comes up with endlessly new and amazing ways of calling me a Christmas Ham. It's not just that the jokes are anti-semetic, it's that they're also Super Unfunny, which was, coincidentally the name of my favorite comic book hero as a child.
Speaking of unfunny, the new Pope is bringing his new stand-down act to New York City, the toughest of all audiences for yuks. The city's last papal visit was in 1995, when Pope John Paul II held a mass for more than 100,000 people in Central Park eschewing his usual brick wall, Uncle Giggle Pants Laugh Shack. Steve Martin, the first comic to play stadiums and coliseums, knew that Jack Benny-esque takes to the audience wouldn't quite read on such a large scale so he supplemented his act with a banjo. The banjo being the most hysterical of all the folk instruments created by enslaved Africans. The act killed. But progress is progress, as my Great Aunt used to say after the Alzheimer's had rendered her brain useless. It took almost two decades for another comic, Andrew 'Dice' Clay, to reach such live concert heights by selling out Madison Square Garden. He spent that evening baiting, berating and offending his audience. He lead them in racist chants and in obscene nursery rhymes until they all left satisfied, single file----––and Rick Rubin awarded him with a record deal on Def American. That act killed and it turned a profit. Clearly Pope Benedict XVI will have to take this even further to truly have an impact. Which message will be remembered and whose followers will be saved? The New Year is approaching, resolutions are being made and passed and stalled in The Senate, and bets are being placed. Now is the time to to take action. To really reflect. While you are still sober enough to think rationally about it. Believe me child, I have and like two billion others before me, I'm putting my money on the Catholic.
You see this guy is good. He's a student of history, a real Bill Clinton type. You might remember last year, while President Bush sent Karen Hughes, a white Texas soccer mom, to the Middle East on a "Good Faith and Good Will Tour" meant to improve America's image in the Muslim world after the initial awkwardness of the occupation of Iraq, Pope Benedict XVI decided to help her efforts by quoting a 14th century emperor who called Islam "evil." The man knows how to bridge a gap. He also knows how to best even himself. Before an actual date had even been set for his NYC debut, Benedict let his intentions be known. The Vatican's ambassador to America, Archbishop Pietro Sambi, told the Associated Press that the Pope plans to visit ground zero where he will be meeting with families of the victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The visit aims to express the Pope's "solidarity with those who have died, with their families and with all those who wish to end violence and in the search of peace".
Taking his message of solidarity even further, after visiting ground zero he will, in addition to his traditional mass, revive the Latin Tridentine. A prayer calling on God to "remove the veil from the hearts of Jews so that they may convert to Catholicism." Dice Clay would not give us a quote for this Newsletter. He said that for him to comment would only give it validation. His brother, Reginald, who answered the phone first when I called said I could quote him as admiring "the balls on that guy." Reggie went on to marvel, "I mean, it's one thing to say out loud to an audience that all Jews are going to burn in hell for eternity unless we save them, it's another thing to come to NYC to do it. And on Passover no less." His concern for Benedict and curiosity for whatever disease had so rapidly swollen his testicles was not only touching and inspiring, but life affirming in its earnestness.
After calling the Pope's upcoming visit, "historic and special" the director of Interfaith Policy for the Anti-Defamation League, Rabbi Eric Greenberg, asked why the Pope has chosen to deliver his address at the beginning of Passover, the holiday celebrating the Jew's freedom from the bondage of slavery, making it impossible for him to meet with any Jewish leaders. "Scheduling conflicts" was The Vatican's official response. Mayor Bloomberg had his own reaction. I don't know if he's Jewish or not but with a last name like that you're guaranteed to grow up to be good with money and unable to program a DVD player. He denied the Papal request to hold the mass in Central Park, stating the mass conversion of Jews that would surely take place immediately following would "just" ruin the grass of The Great Lawn. He had it moved to Yankee Stadium––where I saw Billy Joel with my family and Pink Floyd with Eric. They were both Friggin' Awesome. Pink Floyd even had inflatable flying pigs. Think about it.
We here at Common Rotation are doing everything we can to soften the blow. Blowin' the soft never leads to anything, so, before this years end we're reversing the stream. We urge all New Yorkers to listen to WNYC-FM 93.9 this Sunday the 30th from 7pm to about 8:05pm. You'll hear two Jews and a German Catholic working together, making music and uncomfortably answering questions from Spinning On Air's David Garland. Thus, proving Pope Benedict XVI wrong. There is no harmony in Hell, only the wrong kind of dissonance and love songs. Those of you outside of the tri-state area can fight by listening worldwide on WNYC. Our hour and five will be forever stored for your listening pleasure at: http://www.wnyc.org/shows/spinning/episodes/2007/12/30
>, however the link won't be active until Sunday, The Day of Our Lord.
Sunday, December 30th
Spinning On Air With David Garland
7:00pm to 8:05pm
Or available forever for your streaming pleasure at WNYC
Saturday, January 5th
Molly Malone's Irish Pub
575 S. Fairfax Ave
Los Angeles, California 90036
With The Dust Bowl Cavaliers
Saturday, January 12th
1253 Vine St.
Hollywood, California 90028
Evening begins at 8pm
The Thrilling Adventure and Supernatural Suspense Hour, Common Rotation
Dinner reservations are the only way to be assured of seating.
For a free song every day check The Union Maid at Common Rotation
As well as on MySpace
If you prefer to pay for your music we refer you to our page at Itunes .